Thursday, June 24, 2021

At the Crossroads of Practicality and Desire

I am now at a very weird intersection in my leveling process: I want it to slow down. And I'm not even sure that I can slow it down, either.

Well, let me clarify things a bit: the reason why I want to slow the leveling down is because I'd prefer to get flying right as I ding 70, and my preferred leveling process appears to be working against me for that.


When I arrived in Outland, Brig had 40 gold in her pocket. 

That's right: 40. Not 400.

I don't have a toon that has all my gold, either. Until Brig came along, Card has the most gold of all my toons at roughly 50-100 gold depending on which day of the week it was. Naxx put a gigantic crimp on my ability to earn gold, as I spent a lot of time farming mats so I could attend the Naxx raids. And for those who would say to just farm herbs to sell on the Auction House, I was doing that until the cost of the potions and/or raw materials on the AH outstripped my ability to sell the herbs I was farming. And once the price of Firefin spiked, well.... I grabbed my fishing pole and hit the shores of Wetlands.* It was only in the final few weeks of Naxx that my gold situation began to trend upward as we wiped (and I died) less and less in Naxx itself.

One more point: I did get world (or BoE) drops that I would try to sell on the AH, but I rarely was able to pull that off. I mean, I even got the Disgusting Oozling as a drop in Western Plaguelands, and even putting it up at less than half of the price of the other sellers I couldn't get any takers. Go figure. It's only now, with the new expac out there, that I'm getting some takers on the greens and Enchanting mats I've been putting up.

Still, the leveling of 1 to 60 was an exercise in speed, not wealth generation, even though the only things I bought were food and water.


Until a Shaman gets Water Shield around L62, they are a huge water hog. 

And I do mean huge.

I'd be slowly gaining ground on gold while leveling, and two things would happen: I'd ding and have to go get trained, and the price of water kept going up. I'd have a couple of stacks of water on me when I'd go out into the field, and every time I came back in to sell junk and get more water, the overall fluctuation would be such that I'd net a lot less than I thought. And once I hit the range for the L45 water.... I'd net zero.

The obvious answer was to get a friendly Mage to give me some water, but I was in such a hurry (and on at weird enough hours) that the alternate method of finding a random player, create a group, switch to Card, add Card, and have Card make and distribute water. I did that once, and afterward I thought "This is stupid. All this work for a couple of stacks of water." It may have been free, but as every other goblin in game will tell you, "Time is money, friend." And I didn't have that much time to sit around and do that on a regular basis.**

So, I did what any other slightly insane leveling Shaman would do: switch to L35 water and change my rotation to minimize spellcasting.

It may have been rough at times, but in the end it did help me become a better Shaman because of one thing: Enhancement Shamans are supposed to be masters of White Damage (aka the 'regular' non-magic damage). So I learned to be patient and let my White Damage attacks do their job and only cast when I'd get maximum impact from something. It stretched out my mana use, and it also helped me manage totems (when I used them) better.

And getting Water Shield has been a godsend. I rarely drink when out in the field, and when I group with people for quests or instances I typically get some water given to me as a courtesy.

You know, just like how it used to be.


Back to the original point of this post, getting to Outland has been a gold boon for me, but like I alluded to last week the gold demands are higher. My need for water has lessened, but repairs have gone up. 

And the training costs....

Blowing 30+ gold per level on training hurts. A lot. And the way the Shaman's toolkit is designed, I can't not skip some training in favor of others.

All of this has added up to the reality that I'm sitting at L69, partway through the level, and I'm about 500 gold short of the total cost of flying (skill + mount). 

So I'm doing other things rather than questing: working on my Skinning skill, which will (eventually) net me some gold on the AH, helping other players level, and running instances that are on the lower end of the scale (the first two SSC and HC instances, respectively) to help out lower level toons get leveled.

Still, I think it likely that I'll have to ding L70 to gain access to the excess gold gained by having no more XP to accumulate. It'll be a blow to my pride, but I can wait on getting to the Tempest Keep instances. 


One final note....

I have decided to honor my commitment to the Raid Lead team through Phase 1, but I will re-evaluate things after Phase 2 is announced. While I'd like to think things will improve, I believe it highly likely I'll want to go back to where I was and leave the guild. To do that will require me to give up my Raid Lead position, and I'm fine with that. I will have given things a fair shot, and if it's not working out for me it's not working out. 

And I do have options, so it's not like I'm giving up on WoW Classic.

*Other people liked Stranglethorn Vale, but I preferred Wetlands due to the lack of competition.

**Before you ask, no, I didn't ask any of the other Mages in guild. They were all busy running instances and leveling since the Dark Portal had opened. Some of them had friends from their old days join them in guild, and they've been running with them as much as they can. So why bother them?


  1. I was kinda surprised how showered in gold I felt while leveling in Outland, compared to Classic. Sure, I only made it to 45 but without a loan I wouldn't even have managed to buy a mount at 40 back then. On my boosted Druid... buying Epic Riding was no problem at 64ish, so if the gain doesn't die off I should have enough for flying at 70 - but I guess Feral is a really cool spec for saving training costs (ignore most of Balance and half of Resto) - too bad this is a problem for Shamans :/

    1. Yeah, the Enhance toolkit is all over the place, and you still have to be expected to heal in a pinch. That happened to me in Shadow Labs last night, where the Healer died (I was the only non-L70 in the group) and I filled in until we killed off the boss in question. I was really sucking wind at the end, though.

  2. Just wait until you get your normal flying mount and then start feeling sad when you see people zooming around on their epic flying mount! It is really tough to take.

    1. I'll remember that one....

      But seriously, I'll still make heavy use of flight points and fast riding --because speed-- and make a point to limit my flying to areas that I really need it.

  3. Your comments about lack of gold fascinate and terrify me, because I haven't really struggled much since raising my first character on the server to 60. Sure, I'm not rich (and I do eye people who bought their epic flying on day one with a certain envy) but I get by comfortably. But then, I've also never bought levelling gear of the AH, and I think I can count the number of times I've bought water on any of my characters on the fingers of a single hand...

    1. I believe that the differences in approach to playing explains part of this, Shintar. You enjoy running dungeons, and especially those to level, while I tend to spend more time questing. If you run dungeons, you have a greater chance to run with a Mage (hence a lack of need for water) and the monetary gains are greater than a questing heavy approach.

      The few times that Az or Cardwyn bought gear off the AH it was because the gear disparity (compared to their level) became too great. For both that came in the L40s, where they were both using either Deadmines or Stocks gear in places such as the Hinterlands.

      With Brig, I bought those two Fists of Reckoning for bargain basement prices (30-35 vs. current AH prices of 70) and it paid off in dividends for almost all of my leveling in Outland (61/62 through 70). I did buy some 1H Mace weapons in the 50s to replace my daggers, but those cost a grand total of... 5 gold.

      In Brig's case, I abandoned everything to level to L60 --skill leveling, selling on the AH, etc.-- and to be fair I doubt that people were going to buy a lot of the low level green junk I accumulated off the AH anyway. (Card is now my disenchanter, and when she puts any green up on the AH she almost never gets a nibble. So she DE's greens and puts the Outland Enchanting mats up on the AH instead.) But the gathering skill ups, such as Skinning? I could have made some gold there for someone attempting to level Leatherworking. Now I'm having to go back and re-level skinning just so I can use it in Outland. And I don't wanna talk about the effort needed to level Leatherworking, outside of the fact that I've saved just about every single piece of leather I skinned.

      But back to the topic at hand.

      I have noticed that in Outland if you get into an instance you get more gold than if you spend the comparative time questing. Sure, there's a greater chance at spending gold repairing, but the GPH (Gold per Hour) is much higher (and the gear drops greater) than if you're out questing. Once you get to L70 does questing become far more lucrative, with the conversion of xp rewards into gold rewards. So, if you followed the Meta to some degree you likely have come out ahead more than if you spent the majority of your time questing.

      And if you got to L70 and are spending your time mote farming or any of the other mats in high demand while people skill up Tailoring (or other grindy skills), you've got gold practically falling into your lap. I tagged along with a Warlock friend last night, helping her farm Netherweb Spider Silk, because she needs 30 for her Tailoring leveling and the price on the AH is about 4-5 gold per piece.

      Oh yeah, Naxx....

      Here's my potions list I was carrying into Naxx on a twice weekly basis (depending on the bosses that day), so you have a feel for the amount of farming I was doing:

      Greater Arcane Elixir (5)
      Arcane Elixir (10)
      Greater Firepower Potion (10)
      Brilliant Wizard Oil (10)
      Greater Frost Protection Potion (10-20)
      Greater Fire Protection Potion (5)
      Greater Nature Protection Potion (5)
      Nature Protection Potion (5-10)
      Limited Invulnerability Potion (5)
      Free Action Potion (5)
      Major Mana Potion (5-10)
      Major Health Potion (5)

      I could make all of these except for Greater Arcane Elixir and Major Mana Potion, but for the former I had a fellow Mage who had the recipe and made them for me at cost in exchange for the mats. The price of a stack of 5 Major Mana potions plummeted early in Naxx to about 5 gold or so, and if I ran enough instances I'd just get them as random drops anyway, so the amount of gold spent there was minimal. But still, the AH prices for everything listed was really prohibitive. If I just went to the AH for everything, I'd be talking about 150-200 gold per raid. Therefore, I spent my time farming.

      And before you ask, yes, they were required mats.

    2. Damn. Forgot these:

      Greater Shadow Protection Potion (5-10)
      Shadow Protection Potion (5)

    3. And oh yeah, the Flask.

      Well, that was a special case, as even on a good week I could only afford one Flask --not one per raid-- so it was highly dependent on the gold I had and whether I had any mats for it. There was one or two guildies who could make the Flask of Supreme Power, but when I factored in the cost of the mats off the AH if I couldn't find a Black Lotus in the wild (I haven't found one in months) I just bought a Flask off the AH if the price was right. By the end of Naxx the price of a Flask of Supreme Power had plummeted to under 80 gold, so I could actually start using them again judiciously.

    4. Dang, that's a lot of required consumes. The Forks had no such requirements whatsoever, not even in Naxx. The only things everybody needed were shadow resist pots for Loatheb and frost for Sapphiron, but even there the guild bank handed out a lot of freebies for those in need. I still made sure to always bring my mongoose elixirs and squids, but as long as I didn't die too much, each stack of those could last for a while.