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When choosing a game, the amount of pleasure you will derive from it is usually equal to the research you put into your game selection.  World of Warcraft is a game with many aspects and has been molded to try and provide a jumping in point for almost everyone.

For those with a smaller attention span, they offer a character “boost” which will allow a new user to start with a level 90 character.  For a certain fee (a little pricey for most people, currently at $60) Blizzard will raise your character up to level 90 immediately, enabling you to partake in some of the more entertaining aspects that become available at level 90 (currently the highest level a character can obtain). At this time (pre-Warlords of Draenor release) a free boost is offered with a pre-order of the WoD software.

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For those of us who love the lore, collecting mounts and pets, the constant opportunity to upgrade our skills and gain achievements there is a wonderful experience waiting when you level up a character by yourself for the first time. Planning how to experience all the game offers can be easy and fun if you know the variables to look at.

All At Once or One At A Time

At this time, World of Warcraft (WoW) gives you an opportunity to create up to 11 characters per server.  This allows you to create one character of each class if you want to experience all the game has to offer or just one if you prefer to concentrate on a single character.

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There is a lot to be said in support of creating one of each character.  While the benefits of when and how to level your character set are a much more individual preference, having one of each character not only helps you understand whether success or failure of any task DOES have something to do with your own personal play, but in the case of a healer helps you understand another person’s health limitations in certain situations.

Which Character To Raise First

There are three different types of character play.  The first is the tank.  A good tank personality would be someone who is concerned about protecting other players from being damaged.  They tend to like being in charge and directing others. Being a tank is NOT about controlling others, but directing them much like a director of a major motion picture – you need to ensure everyone is there and ready to start the fight. Your job is to ensure the NPCs are beating on you, not the other players in the game.  You are their protector and their leader, not their owner.  Marines make good tanks since their main job is to storm the beach head. A good tank will also be able to assess the group of players with him in case they need to be broken up in groups.  They may also be responsible for calling out when to pop cool downs, which order raid bosses and trash should be killed and in some situations should be able to plainly tell others what to watch out for during a fight (yes it’s true – sometimes groups are made up of several new players who have no idea the dungeon journal in the game exists).

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The second type of character play is DPS or damage.  This character’s job is to deal damage in BIG quantities.  They should not be worried about taking damage, only how much damage they can contribute.  Their job is usually to ensure specific targets are killed as soon as possible and are usually geared to deal out the most damage possible.  You will often hear tanks reminding their damage cohorts to KILL THE ADDS as soon as possible. If your world is all about destruction and you cherish your peripheral vision, damage may be the character type for you.

The last type of character play is the healer.  These players are responsible for keeping people alive throughout the fight.  A healer personality would most closely resemble a mother or nurse who is concerned about everyone’s well being.  Healers have spells that not only help keep damage to a minimum, but restore a player’s health so they can continue their task.  Healers are best when they have played each class as this will allow them to understand why another player is taking so much damage.  Healers should have a thick skin though – they have to deal with all types of unbalanced and uneducated personality types blaming them for everything under the sun (another reason to have played one of every class). The last healer mantra to remember is “you can’t heal stupid.”  If a tank insists on running ahead and starting without his entire group present or a DPS refuses to be aware of corrupted pools that are eating through their health, you may simply have to let them die to manage your mana.  Sometimes tough love is required.

My own personal play style when I began (and still today) was partial to healers and preferred to focus on one specific character that would provide the greatest benefit for my other characters as they raised up in levels. During times when I felt like a change, I could always play any one of my other 10 characters until I was ready to go back to my main character.

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I chose to raise my Tailoring/Enchanting Discipline Priest first so all my characters would be able to benefit from the largest bags available (lots of room to store goodies in both your bank and what you carry around) and the financial ease of making my own enchantments.

In the Mists of Pandaria WoW expansion, enchanting your armor is one of the most important parts of making your level 90 character the best it can be. With a possible 14 slots of armor which can be enchanted to enhance your play, it can get very expensive at level 90 to buy the enchants off the auction house. At any given time, some of the enchantments can sell for over 1,000 gold coins, so it is best to save your gold by being able to create your own.

I did make the mistake of leveling my Druid (who is an alchemist) next, because I liked the idea of being able to fly as soon as I pressed the button to fly (mounts require a few seconds to load).  I also liked the idea of being able to go invisible and run anywhere riding mounts were not available.  Had I thought a little further about what I’d have to buy I may have chosen to level up my jewel crafter (monk) or my inscriptionist (shaman) next.

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Glyphs, which are made by an inscriptionist (along with shoulder enchantments) are an easier financial purchase and can often be found for a lower price (as opposed to the 500 gold coins you see now and then).  You can also only utilize 3 major glyphs and 3 minor glyphs at a time and the minor glyphs are technically not necessary.

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Jewels can also often be purchased as low as 30-50 gold, depending on their stats. While primal diamonds (the main jewel for your head armor) can get pricey, they usually only require getting replaced two or three times as you collect higher iLvL gear.

I chose to level my inscriptionist after my druid, then my leather worker.  While leather working provides a good group of additional DPS enchantments for armor, they can also create 36-slot mining and inscription bags (with the right reputation). It seemed logical to access glyphs before jewels as inscription also offers a nice off-hand for new 90 intellect users, but again this was a personal choice.

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How to level your characters based on their professions will be completely up to the type of game play you are interested in.  For example, someone who is very interested in PvP play (player versus player) may choose to place their Engineering profession higher up on the list to take advantage of a glider – often helpful in battle ground play when getting there first is important.  PvE (playing against non-player characters or NPCs) Engineers also have the advantage of providing services to raid groups such as mailboxes and armor repair bots normally unavailable in dungeon or raid situations. If you are one who loves to find out everything about a game, I recommend you create a character/profession plan which lays out which class and race will have which profession.  Some races get bonuses for specific professions that allow them to raise levels in that profession a little faster.

If you are entering the World of Warcraft by yourself take advantage of all the perks you can.  BEFORE you install the game on your computer or set up an account, be sure to get a link that gives you the opportunity to make triple experience and allows summoning under certain circumstances (you can request one by visiting our guild web site knightsoftwistedfate.com and enter your information under the recruitment tab).  Get a 60 day play time card to use when you create your account to keep superfluous trial accounts off your main log-in screen and visit Wowhead.com to research professions and formulate a plan that allows you to utilize all the different facets of the game. Wowhead.com has a way for you to look at all the default patterns any given profession provides as you raise it up.  These are all good things to do BEFORE you create your new World of Warcraft account.  We do offer tutoring services (hourly rate) if you are a person who is a more “hands on” learner and wants personal instruction. Otherwise, we are happy to help our guild members free of charge as time permits.

In my next blog I’ll be discussing how to create a strategy if your family or a group of friends wants to play World of Warcraft together.  I find World of Warcraft is a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends that are physically too far away to socialize with.  There are so many different levels of game play that even the most timid of game players can find a place to shine. Hope to see you there! 🙂

There are so many things you have to learn when you’re involved in a game that relies on other people.  I’ve been pretty much winging it on my own, with the exception of the dungeon runs I’ve done with my guild leader.  He’s a great guy who explains things to me and has the patience to put up with the horrible mis-steps my old computer frequently causes.  In one dungeon, I had the hideous luck to keep falling into molten lava on the way in because at the time I did not have a winged beast to fly over it (or to be more exact, wasn’t at a high enough level to use my winged beast for flight).  He’s also been great at helping me collect armor for my priest and bags with enough slots to actually carry and store things in.  He’s generously found both cloth and leather whenever I’ve asked (from what he has left over) and informed me those hard to find dusts and essences can be found by disenchanting the things I have to make to move my tailoring skill up.  I can say as men go he’s probably treated me better than most of the real men in my life.

Sooner or later though, you have to start stepping out on your own just to prove you are capable of learning things that may seem easy to others, but are weaving new neural pathways in a much older brain.  When I hit level 60 and was finally able to upgrade my riding ability to fly I was feeling pretty good.  While other quests had taken forever to get to some of the places via the road (often stopped by aggressive NPCs on the way to get where I was going), I now fly over their heads.  Quest lines are much easier to finish as I no longer have to follow the roads to where I want to go.  I simply take a direct line and drop down right in the middle of everything.  This is especially handy when you have to go some place on the other side of Horde territory.

Feeling good about my new found freedom I thought I would trip the light fantastic and take a stab at joining a group through the dungeon finder.  BAD IDEA.  I had THE WORST dungeon experience in my life!  I’ve read you should go in as a DPS (only there to cause damage) person if you don’t know how to run a dungeon, but if you get put into an experienced group it doesn’t hold true.  I indicated on the dungeon finder that I would not be using my priestly skills, mostly due to the age of my computer and the buffer lag I have to deal with due to an inadequate graphics card and low processor speed.

Unfortunately, if you get into a group of experienced players they are off and running before you even have time to start the quests in the dungeon.  Before I even found out who the tank in my group was, he was barking instructions and criticism my way.  I had no idea what he was talking about though, since it was clear the words coming out of his mouth were foreign to me.

I brought this to the WoW forums and was blessed with some great responses. While it took a couple of explanations to get all the information I needed, I found out that priests who wish to be both healers and damage creators need to sign up for dual specialization.  I suppose this is true for all the other classes as well.  Each class comes with three different types of skills or spells, dependent upon what they wish to do.  I chose the Discipline Priest specialty when I created my character (even though most guides said to create a Shadow Priest), because at the time I wanted an equal balance between healer and fighter.  Being a Holy Priest would have taken too long to level and being a Shadow Priest made me a damage character, not a healer. The whole time the leader of this dungeon group was screaming SHADOW, SHADOW, SHADOW at me, he wanted me to switch over to a Shadow Priest.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but later I found out how easy it is to go to your class trainer and request dual specialization (having two bright tabs on your specialization as shown above indicates you can switch back and forth between the two).  Something else I also found interesting was the other priest in the group was using his Shadow skills and was also being targeted by the NPCs run amok, while I as a Discipline Priest was being left alone by random aggressive NPCs.

You really can find any piece of information you need on the Wow forum.  I post all my inquiries to the Newbie area since I know so little about the game. I received links to some GREAT class guides, was helped by being given a list of spells people would expect me to use in a dungeon run, had the loot system explained to me in a way that made sense and was given insight on what experienced people DO expect.  One person replying told me that her dungeon experiences yielded a one in five rate of having a leader who flew like the wind trying to take the course at his own pace – lucky me!  Of course, there is always the other extreme, which was pointed out to me by another poster, where people go through the dungeon slowly as they consider it more of a social opportunity than a speed drill.

In between my last blog entry and this one, I also went to some pretty interesting quests.  The Un’Goro Crater quest line seemed to take FOREVER.  I was never so thankful to receive an increase in movement speed.  In addition, it seemed to have the highest amount of aggressive NPCs that were always in the way of getting from here to there.  It would have been much easier to get through that area with a flying mount.  By the time I was through with all the quests in that area, all I wanted to do was get out of it.

Then there was the exorcism of Colonel Jules.  I had been running quest lines that were pretty self explanatory for so long, I forgot about the ones where you just stand there and observe.  I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do when I got to this quest (buffer lag played a part in my confusion waiting for the NPC to speak), but I finally stood still for a while and realized the NPC I interacted with was beginning an exorcism complete with green goo and flying skulls.

The most ANNOYING quest came from Silithus on the continent of Kalimdor. This was the first time I was ever tricked into PvP play by a quest.  I’m sure I spent hours trying to figure out why, when I clicked on the geyser, I couldn’t get to the apparatus which sucked the geyser energy I was carrying out of me as the quest required.  After a lot of frustration and wasted time, I finally found a web page with comments about the quest.  It appeared that you must not only have your PvP indicator turned on when starting the quest (right click on your face in the upper left corner where it shows how many hit points you have left and you’ll see the Player vs. Player options), but you CANNOT ride any mount after interacting with the Silithyst Geyser; i.e. you better run fast to get to the machine that sucks the geyser energy back out of you.  Sometimes it was a VERY long run hoping no one would spot me.

Part of the quest was the Alliance/Horde challenge you see above.  I suppose you win some type of honor points if your faction gets to 200.  I never saw the score indicator get close to 200 on either side.  To move the numbers (and they reset every day I believe), you have to complete the geyser run.  There are several geysers in Silithus, but I found them to not respawn all that fast.  I think you do better going into Silithus as a group and trying to get as many as you can that way.

I had my second chance to go to the Darkmoon Faire this month.  The games were much easier to play this time having learned more about the user interface and my mouse.  The cannon game is still a bit iffy due to the age of my computer and poor graphics card.  The lag is horrible when I play, which doesn’t bode well for hitting a button when you get over a certain area in the ocean.  I still found myself distracted enough by trying to complete quests to not make it to the Faire every day to gather more tickets.  I suppose the special quests benefit people who are at their highest level already.

I am thrilled to be able to say I can now make my own 16 slot bags!  I made a bunch of them with the tons of Netherweave Cloth I had gathered from all the quests.  I’ve had the misfortune to be very far behind in Tailoring from the level I’m at.  Here’s a good tip for anyone winding up in the same situation.  If you are predominantly behind in Tailoring (i.e. the cloth you’re getting from kills is a few levels above what you can create), try to keep in mind that if you find a good area to farm cloth during your quests, spend some time there and get as many as you can while you’re at that level (and don’t think for a minute that having 140 pieces is enough – the higher you get, the more pieces it takes to make a bolt of cloth)!  I am finding that once I pass the player level of the area where certain cloth spawns, I can’t farm ANYTHING to save my soul!  I’m sure they put that stopgap in the game to keep people from making millions farming different types of cloth, but I would hope one day they would re-code the ability to pick up cloth based on your Tailoring level, NOT your player level.  The last seven levels of Tailoring were incredibly painful for me.  I was too big to farm any more runecloth, but I didn’t have enough to make items that would raise my level (grayed out items don’t raise your Tailoring level, green does sometimes, but not always).  The prices for cloth through the auction house (for those of us who were too impatient to wait until our non-tailoring characters got up to that cloth level) were HORRIBLE.  At a time when I should be saving up for flying lessons, I’m spending my gold on cloth I should have spent the time to farm.  Oh well, at least now I know.

If you’re having any problems as a newbie or have questions about things that aren’t working well for you, please visit the battle.net WoW forum.  The people there are full of all kinds of information.  You just have to be specific about what you want to know and they will happily share their experience and expertise.  It’s always been a positive experience for me. 🙂

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