Whether you’re a returning World of Warcraft veteran, or joining the game for the first time, choosing how to level your character is not as simple of a decision as you might think. Blizzard offers the option of leveling a character from 1 to 110 for $60 USD at the click of a button, but what does this get you? Why grind through levels 1-110 when this option is available at a less time consuming rate? As a newer player who recently experienced this conundrum, I will measure the benefits and weigh the drawbacks of each, and give my overall opinion from my own observations.
World of Warcraft draws a number of different kinds of players to the game. Whether you’re interested in the lore that has continually expanded over the course the fourteen year franchise or you simply enjoy dungeon combat and online raids, there is something here for almost everyone. With each new expansion Blizzard offers a character boost, taking your level 1 character straight to 110. WoW has six expansions (seven if you count the upcoming Battle for Azeroth) teeming with quests and dialogue, and it’s a LOT to catch up on, especially for the newer players who wish to progress and join endgame as soon as possible. This can be a good deal, as you skip the older dungeons and older content. Let’s have a look at the benefits of using a character boost:
One vital commodity in WoW is gold, used to buy items that will boost stats or buy character cosmetics, making life in the WoW universe a lot easier. For those players who want to focus on gold farming, a character boost can help you in two ways:
- Garrison – Garrison is one of the main features in the expansion Warlords of Draenor. The main purpose of the Garrison is a starting base for players entering a hostile environment, and it provides quests and resources. You can use these resources to craft items and sell to others in order to make gold. Players who boost their character from scratch (Level 1 or trial character) with the character boost token will receive instantly a Level 3 Garrison, skipping a lot of quests that would be required to level it from 1 to 3. A Level 3 Garrison is larger in size and has more resources at your disposal.
- Professions – Character boosts can help you to level your skills points in your profession to 700 (max 800) without spending time or resources. This is called a Veteran Boost. This can only be done from level 60 upwards, and players must also choose the two main professions before using the boost or a default profession depending on your class will be chosen for you. Using a character boost below level 60 will still increase your level to max, but will not apply the skill points to your profession.
If this is not your first character, or you are impatient to get at the latest content of the game, then a character boost could be in your best interest. Leveling from Level 1 to 110 can take you as long as a week of playing non-stop. You may have in-game friends who are eagerly waiting for you to join them in a raid to take down Argus, the newest boss to wreak havoc in the Legion expansion. However, you will need to be at max level in order to enjoy any of the latest content, and you’ll probably want to be geared up a bit too.
Leveling Experience (1-110)
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of leveling a character in WoW before, you might want to know what the differences are now, as well as what you could gain from leveling the “classic way”. Newer players should also check out what they are about to face, and why this may suit them when it comes to end-game content. In this section I will explore why you might consider not buying a boost, and why it could be better for you.
Old vs New (Before patch 7.3.5)
Before patch 7.3.5 the “leveling experience” was in huge contrast to the “endgame experience”, as it had no way of preparing new players for what to expect after they had reached max level. Being able to “one shot” enemies in the open world gave players the wrong impression of endgame WoW gameplay, and players had a rude awakening when they finally reached Legion content. Only then realizing what had befit them while leveling no longer worked, and did not reflect endgame one bit. As Illidan would say:
With the latest patch 7.3.5 things changed dramatically, and the developers not only slowed the progression at which players progressed, but also how this was accomplished. They did this in a number of ways: changing how dungeons work, nerfing abilities, lowering stats of heirlooms, and increasing the experience received from open world quests. Another change added was level scaling of mobs, and what players previously could take out in one blow, now would not go down without a fight. Quests now give additional experience, resulting in more of a balance between dungeon and quest experience. All of these changes helped with Blizzard’s intent for players to have more of an understanding of the game.
One important feature to leveling comes in the form of Heirlooms. Heirlooms are gear designed for players to level faster by scaling with you as you level up, and give you additional bonuses such as experience increases, effects when enemies die or even the rate you heal you up. However, to obtain them can be a challenge for newer players, as it requires a decent amount of gold, unless you are prepared to purchase in-game currency (WoW tokens).
Each armor item costs 500 gold, weapons will vary depending on your class and will go for 650-1000 gold. Don’t forget you will also need Trinkets, Rings and Necklaces which will be another 700 gold. As you level you will need to upgrade your Heirlooms, and level cap for Tier 1 is 60, level cap for Tier 2 is 90 and Tier 3 is 100 or 110 depending on the Heirloom you purchased. Reaching Tier 3 for a full set of Heirlooms will set you back around 50,000 gold. This might seem like a hefty price but the good thing about heirlooms is once you’ve collected them, they can be used to help with the leveling other characters (as long as they can wear that material e.g. Mage can only wear cloth, Druids can only wear leather etc.). Without the use of heirlooms you are looking at a longer period when it comes to the leveling process, creating more of a grind. This could take you up to two weeks in total playing time.
Learning Your Class
When you apply a character boost, it gives you very little time to become acclimated to your character’s abilities/spells, rotation, talents or even movements. The importance of knowing how to use your class is something players will quickly realize, and plays a huge impact in how you perform in raids/dungeon. Going through the leveling system gives you time to learn about your class, and you may have certain expectations, but you will not understand it fully until you spend time learning your character.
Knowing your class’ strengths and limitations will help you when you enter dungeons/raids, and working with other players in dungeons and raids is crucial for completing them successfully. If you have no idea what you’re doing you’ll have a higher chance of being kicked out of the group. For example one of the classes (Mage), can help to increase the speed of group’s casting ability by using Timewarp. If you don’t know how to use this or when could mean the difference between a successful run or a wipe.
As someone who has taken both routes and began playing WoW from the latest expansion Legion, I have had a chance to experience what it is like for a newer player to be faced with content spanning over fourteen years. Starting my WoW experience with a Frost Mage, all I knew was that I liked magic and dealing damage, so I went ahead an Boosted it. Little did I know that this class relies heavily on a whole different system compared to most classes, and that damage is highly dependent on RNG. After reaching max level I tried my hand at dungeons and raids, and it was frustrating. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t keep a good level of damage or how to find time to cast when so many raids relied on movement (you cannot cast most spells while moving). Shortly thereafter, I decided it wasn’t the class for me.
After taking a break from WoW I came back and chose a different class, a Druid, and this time leveled from scratch. In the open world I learned more about the Wrath of the Lich King and the Mists of Pandaria (my two favourite expansions). I had more of an understanding of how to travel around this massive world that had different areas/zones with unique quests and storylines. I had a chance to get use to casting rotation of the Druid class, understand how and when to use Astral Power, which is responsible for dealing larger amounts of damage in the Druid class. I had a much better go of it the second time round because I had the opportunity to get to know all these things, things which can really improve your end-game experience, and there is definitely a sense of accomplishment that goes with it!
If I were to do it all over again, I would definitely go down the leveling route, or at the very least wait until level 60 to purchase a Veteran Boost. This gave me the basic idea of the game, was much more enjoyable, and I learned about the lore and story in doing so (which was an added bonus). Not everyone has the time to do it that way, and some players (especially those with lots of MMO experience) may find the Character Boost is exactly what they need. However, even then they will spend much of their time learning their class, and won’t be competitive right away.
What are your experiences when it comes to leveling in World of Warcraft? Let us know in the comments.
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