Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Level 12

Fade and Target Dummies
It turns out dropping a target dummy and fading does not get me out of combat, so I still can't solo Tomber's Supplies...

Running On Empty?
Getting to level 12 seems to have opened no new non-combat quests; at least, I haven't been able to find any. It looks like the other two Alliance start areas are the only way to advance, so I took a chance and ran into Ashenvale, and fortunately, I'm high enough to get exploring XP there -- better than wasting it like I did for some of WPL. I haven't been quite optimal in getting XP in other areas; I missed at least one "NPC1 tells me to talk to NPC2" quest by talking to NPC2 first and getting the quest that NPC1 would've sent me to do.

I've gone to the weapon trainer to learn staves, just so I can hold one if I find one that looks good. I will also probably learn level 1 of Devouring Plague since that appears to be a quest for UD priests that gives some XP.

Odd Playstyle
Given my method to loot Raptor Eggs, this is possibly the only priest build where +Agility and +Dodge is useful.

I don't need much bag space, because I don't get much loot, and I have to run between zones so much I go near banks frequently.

My level 70 mains have all kinds of combat macros; my priest has all emote macros.

I always have rested XP and never use it. I don't need to stay at inns since it doesn't help me.

Ways To Grind XP?
I've found one way to "grind" XP so far: the seasonal quests are repeatable. Not exactly quick leveling, but if I get stuck, I can mothball Reinisch and bring him out for each event until he goes up a level and can get new quests.

There used to be at a quest that allowed XP grinding without killing. The Steamwheedle reputation quest Water Pouch Bounty used to give 380 XP for repeat turn-ins (10% of the initial turn-in), but about the time that The Burning Crusade came out, it no longer gives XP, just rep.

I had hoped that changing your engineering speciality between Gnomish and Goblin would allow you to take the "Show Your Work" quest over & over, but from what I read, you are considered to have already done it even if you switch. This might change in the future, though, because people who have switched do not get their membership cards to switch, so they can't get the unique BOP pet that the other specialization can get by renewing their membership card.

The same appears to be true of the Darkmoon Faire decks; completing a deck creates a quest to turn it in, so I don't think you can repeat it for XP.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A detour before taking the A-Train

I've taken the long swim back up to Westfall (and get the Keeper of the Flame quest from the ghost Captain Grayson at the Westfall lighthouse - yes, he gives them to Horde, too) and explored the rest of it, and swam across to Redridge to get all of those exploring XP before my level gets too high. I inadvertently get some XP from the edges of Duskwood as I swim over.

Running around Redridge, I run into some Alliance. I wave, but the ?? Rogue kills me. After more exploring and dying around the gnolls near the Tower of Ilgalar, I rez and some gnolls attack again. I bubble and hit Renew as I run, and two ?? Alliance players see me and attack the gnolls to help me. I actually survive while both of them die -- not much I could do to help. I wait around for them to rez so I can /thank them and /bow. One of them waves, but then they both start attacking me, I guess because their friends (who had killed me earlier) come by and they don't want to appear "soft on Horde."

After returning to Horde territory and levelling up some more, I start running low on quests again, and decide I really need to get to Dun Morough and Loch Modan to get more exploring XP before I'm too high level to get it. So, I swim up to Westfall for a third time and corpse-hop through Stormwind, which takes more than an hour to get to the tram. One odd note, WoW keeps track of your last two corpses, leaving a skeleton at each. This seems wrong somehow...

I'm making a list of quests that I've done. I've already got a couple of people willing to join a guild I plan to create called <The Pacifist>, so players (including Alliance) will see my name as:

<The Pacifist>

I've also come up with a couple of possible ways to solo the Tomber's Supplies quest -- either throw down a Target Dummy and Fade, which might take me out of combat so I can get the supplies, or level up engineering so I can use a Gnomish Cloaking Device and (hopefully) get the supplies before I go into combat.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

World of Warcraft as a pacifist

A Pacifist?

After reading about the World of Warcraft hunter who only melees and the warrior who fights with no armor or weapons, I decided to try a type of character I've been thinking about for a while: a pacifist who refuses to kill anything.

Over this weekend, I've done some experimenting. Since I've mostly played Alliance on a PvP server, I decided to switch to Horde on The Venture Co (RPPvP). RP because I'll be roleplaying a pacifist, and PvP because, well, what's the point of being a pacifist if it's easy?

First, what is a "pacifist" in WoW? My first attempt was a Blood Elf Warlock, who didn't kill anything "alive" -- undead, demons, and mechanicals were ok to destroy, because they weren't flesh & blood. But this wasn't much different from normal play, and I deleted her after hitting level 5 easily.

Then I gave it a little more thought, and decided I couldn't kill any mobs. No NPCs, no opposing players, no critters (rats, chickens, etc). If WoW keeps track of total kills for each player, mine should be all zeroes.

This also meant no "cheating" by grouping and allowing other players to do my dirty work for me. Level up only from non-violent quests and exploring.

Second, is this even mathematically possible? There are a limited number of quests, and only so many points to gain from exploring. Worse yet, now you can only gain exploring XP if your level is close to the level of the zone -- no running a level 3 into WPL for a few hundred XP (which I discovered too late). Also, some quests that I could do are parts of a chain that require killing to get, so I can't even do all delivery/search/gathering quests.

Finally, "what's my motivation?" On a roleplaying server, I should at least come up with a rationale.

I decided to pattern my character after a real-life German priest who was a pacifist executed for refusing to serve under Hitler, Franz Reinisch. Being an undead human, my character's backstory is that he was executed for refusing to serve under a military dictator. After an unremembered time as a puppet of the Scourge, he awakens some 60+ years after his death as a member of the Forsaken, but a member who refuses to kill.

Here is Reinisch. As of this writing, he is level 11. You can see that he has never used a mace, wand, or unarmed fighting by looking at his skills. He only has level 1 Smite because he started with it.

A Long Road

As I feared, there aren't enough non-combat quests in any one starting area to level up easily. My UD Priest has to constantly run around all four starting areas to find enough to do. Deliveries to Brill, conking lazy Orcs on the head (hey, I may be a pacifist, but I'm no Gandhi), and getting to Mulgore at a low enough level to still get XP from the lowest-level quests there. I couldn't do any of the Blood Elf starting quests, though, they wouldn't give me any.

I wanted to do this without any outside help, so my money situation before level 5 is pretty bad. I don't get cash from mobs or many quests, so I also loot any water barrels or food boxes or unguarded chests I see. When I get to level 5, I barely have enough to learn mining and buy a pickaxe. After selling some ore, money is no longer a problem. At first, I take mining and herbalism.

Leveling up is easy but slow, as I keep needing to travel to find enough quests. I don't know how hard or easy it would be for an Alliance character -- their capitals are essentially in two isolated groups, making it harder for a low-level character to get quests from all four starting areas, but maybe they have more non-combat quests.

Of course, many of the gathering quests are near mobs which are normally killed in order to do the quest; since this option isn't open to me, I can sometimes run in and die near the item, and hopefully resurrect outside of aggro range to complete the quest. I did Thazz'ril's Pick this way. I also complete some of these sorts of quests easily because a player had just been through the area earlier.

I hit a real XP plateau after level 7. I can't find any more quests, and I have two I can't complete: Break A Few Eggs and Thwarting Kolkar Aggression. Both involved getting items that are close to mobs that attack me; getting attacked aborts my attempt to get the items, even if I bubble first.

I could, of course, just ask people to kill them for me, but that doesn't seem right for a pacifist. I don't have any crowd control spells at level 7. I finally hit on the idea of dropping herbalism for engineering so I can make target dummies -- the mobs will attack the target dummy while I get the items. I level up my engineering, but then find out I can't learn the second level of engineering until I'm level 10! Scratch that idea for now.

I even turn violent! I do the second part of A Rogue's Deal, where I have to fight an NPC rogue. But since it's one of those quests where the NPC gives up before he dies, I never kill him. However, since I never plan on levelling my combat skills over 1 or getting any offensive spell other than the level 1 Smite I started with, this is probably the only quest of this kind I can complete without help.

Finally, I take the boat from Ratchet to Booty Bay and swim all the way north to northern Westfall (north end, because I don't want to discover areas that are too high for me to get XP exploring credit). I run around all of Elwynn Forest and some of Westfall to get as much XP as I can. I hit level 8 by one of the farms in Elwynn and get about 25% through level 8 just by exploring. I took over 6 hours to go from level 7 to 8.

Level 10 At Last

Level 8 and 9 are a bit easier; I'm being more careful about exploring. The wowhead.com quests by level list helps, but is incorrect and incomplete, so I keep looking for quests and keep exploring "appropriate" levels. I plan on returning to Alliance territory periodically to get even more exploring XP, but it feels like I might be losing ground -- I have to explore more areas, and areas with higher-level mobs, because I'm not quite getting enough XP from non-combat quests. If this keeps up, it's possible I may reach a level where I simply can't advance.

I also hit on a way to do the Break A Few Eggs quest -- I notice that I regenerate mana fast enough to continually heal myself indefinitely if I'm in combat with just one raptor guarding eggs. Every time I try to loot the egg, the raptor hits me and aborts the looting. However, the raptor sometimes misses me, which allows me to continue to loot the egg. But one miss isn't enough! I have to keep trying for several minutes until, by chance, the raptor misses me twice in a row. I loot 2 of the required 3 eggs using this method, and one egg gotten due to a helpful passerby. I also complete the Kolkar quest with unexpected help.

When I hit level 10, I levelled up my engineering to make Target Dummies. It has taken just under 20 hours to get to level 10.

Target dummies don't help with every gathering quest; I can't do Tomber's Supplies because I can't loot the supplies if I'm in combat. But they helped me finish Grimscale Pirates.

Level 10 seems to have opened a fair number of quests and I get to level 11 without much trouble. I plan to go to Westfall and Redridge to avoid losing exploring XP. I accept the quest Wild Hearts even though it is normally completed by killing Worgs; since it's an ingredient in Discolored Healing Potions, it's a regular drop, not a quest drop, so I can buy them from the Auction House. I long ago decided I have to allow myself to buy items like leather at the Auction House to realistically function...