Posted by: Makakai | September 14, 2009

Experiencing the Gulch of Leveling

I’m back from a hiatus due to Birthday, Dragon*Con and family responsibilities, so on to some recent musings and experiences. I’ve started leveling my lowbie paladin that I just couldn’t seem to find interest in until just recently…

My paladin started the trek to higher levels from being stuck at level 16 and is now at level 22. How have I done it in my spare time between running chain heroics on my 80s? Through PvP! Yes, I took my pally, respec’d her to holy, used my mountains of Stone Keeper Shards to buy some goodies, and started queueing for battle grounds. I alternate 2-3 bgs with quests and I’ve been racking up the xp in 1-2 hours every couple of days. I also got my brother to run me through enough of Wailing Caverns for a special drop that I’ll get to more after the break.

I’ve been messing around with the talents as I level to explore the different facets of the paladin healer and to better understand her in general, but this is what I’m looking at by level 40 (at which point I can dual spec for even more experimentation). I started with a combination ret and holy spec because I wanted to keep my questing parts a little easier, but then decided that the bg thing was working and I might as well ‘go for broke’.

As for the gear, I used the paladin twinking guides on wowwiki for a starting point and looked into what was easy to get with minimal effort since I will be leveling right past the gear for each “twink point”. Since I’m engineering, that covers my head slot for each level and I’ve purchased the BoA pvp trinket and shoulders using my 80s. Then since I’ve got the pvp honor and marks I went ahead and made the run to Warsong Camp to purchase the back and ring from them (just because I could). Finally, my run into Wailing Caverns netted me the Seedcloud Buckler. That and some previous bits and pieces from other WC runs and my questing rewards round out my gear. Eventually, I may get some enchants on my gear if I feel like pestering someone for some lowbie enchants, but I’m doing this for fun so I’m not really trying to ‘twink’ her.

Next, my pvp experiences as a holy/ret paladin. I started in the 10-19 bracket at first as ret then more holy as I leveled and really got excited about it. At this bracket Warsong Gulch is your only choice and I found that my faction (horde) didn’t do too badly at this level. Although, I have to say that when a level 17 ret/holy pally is the highest for the faction for both damage and healing the group clearly needs to get their act together. The highlights for this bracket was the other paladin Raice that said hello every time I queued into the same bg, the engineering bombs killing flag carriers, and my Hammer of Justice stun.

Now I’m in the 20-29 bracket and I’m finding myself mostly flattened right now, but I also get to go into Arathi Basin periodically so it’s not always the same run for the flag. At this poing I’m pretty well geared and I’m basically pvp leveling holy, so I’m either protecting the home flag in WG or protecting the mine/lm/etc. I did spend one entire AB hanging out with this hunter protecting a flag at the mine; we had some nice synergy that kept the 2 of us going really well. I also spent some time with a guildy on a level 27 rogue in the battlegrounds. He was leveling his lockpicking in between and always queued with a poison debuff that I cleansed as soon as we both phased into the bg starting room, it started to become a running joke between us.

Finally, what I’m sure any reader really wants to know, how is the xp compared to just questing? Well, much better if we win, but in general I can see about a 5-10% xp gain per bg. Not bad for a little ally butt kicking on my pally during the questing grind.  Yes, I know it’s much better after level 70 in Alterac Valley, but I’m enjoying the hell out of my once stagnant paladin, so who’s complaining?

Next pvp post I’ll talk a little bit about my experiences on my higher level toons, and hopefully in betwen I’ll get a chance to check out the pvp scene on my shaman.

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