Image courtesy of 78thelemen
I’ve read a lot of the posts on preparation for WotLK, and, probably because I’m a farm-a-holic, I still don’t think the topic has been overdone. For the casual player, an xpac is a time of new experiences. For the more hardcore, it’s an opportunity to Scattle out ahead… and experience them before anyone else.
First, you need to decide if you’re going to play the xpac. A whole new WoW opening could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to ease back into real life.
If you are going to play WotLK, you need to decide to what extent. Are you looking to make a mad-dash to 80 with your guild to shoot for server (or world?) firsts? Or are you going to take a slower pace, either solo or with a few friends and enjoy the lore and depth-of-content? Are you going to play the same character you play now, or pick up a new one? What class? What race is best for that class, and what you want to do with it? Will it be your new main? Will you roll a Death Knight?
Honestly, if you’re planning to enjoy the content at a laid-back pace on your current character, there’s not a lot of prep-work you need to do. The idea behind preparing is to make the process of leveling and gearing up more efficient, and if efficiency doesn’t matter, neither does prepping. Personally, I’ll grind Wynthea to 80 as quickly as possible to be ready for end-game raiding, then back track later, when it’s less crowded, to enjoy the quests and content that I skimmed through.
I’d also like to have as few headaches as possible so I can focus on learning the new game mechanics, so my prep is a bit more elaborate than stockpiling mats. (Although there’s a lot of that going on, too.) Here’s my EXTREME to-do list:
Image courtesy of iwanbeijes
First of all, when I joined my current guild, I came as part of a package deal. We were a Prot Warrior, Holy Priest, and Rogue. My compadres have since leveled and geared up a Hunter and a Mage. (Yes, I’m the slacker without an alt. But I rolled the perfect class on my first try, so there’s really not much incentive…especially since I’ve done it twice.)
So we have 5 ‘toons to work with. Here’s how we’ve got it worked out:
Warrior: Mining and Jewelcrafting. (Has literally EVERY pattern.)
Rogue: Herbalism and Elixir-Alchemist.
Hunter: Skinning and Leather Work
Mage: Tailoring (Scryer) and Enchanting
Priest: Tailoring (Aldor) and Herbalism (Herb is going bye-bye in favor of Inscription.)
We decided that Blacksmithing and Engineering didn’t provide enough benefit to us all as a group to justify picking them up, since most of the best goodies are specific to the person with the profession. The idea is that no matter what we need to improve our raiding abilities, we can have it made among ourselves – Gems, Enchants, Spellthreads, Armor Kits, and Consumables. This way, too, if there’s a specific older pattern we need, we can just farm for it rather than counting on finding someone via trade. The Mage is the newest 70, and we’ll be starting his Kara grind this week. We did manage to get Death Frost for him during the Summer Festival, and have made good progress on the arduous task of getting him Exalted with all the outlands factions. Since Blizzard decided to update the better AQ enchants for TBC, we didn’t want to assume they’d be available for WotLK mats.
Although we all raid and contribute heavily to our actual guild, we also have a personal alt-guild and bank set up. (We probably house the wealthiest lvl 1′s on our server) This way, we have the storage space for the mats to get the first few notches up in each of our professions. This means taking a look at whatever patterns are orange or yellow in your profession-window, and getting a good idea of what mats they use. Sure, with the xpac will come new mats and probably entry-level patterns, but getting a few bumps in from “old” outland mats will put you ahead of the curve as far as what materials you need to farm, and what patterns you can access in Northrend. Think about holding enough materials to get 10-15 ticks for your professions, including primals and other odds-and-ends. A few examples:
- I have set aside 100 Netherweave cloth for each of our characters. Enough to make 50 Heavy Netherweave Bandages – so we can save “frostcloth” or whatever for the massive task of leveling two tailors.
- I have set aside quite a few stacks of bolts of Netherweave and Imbued Netherweave to ease the first 10 or so ticks into tailoring.
- Raw gems to cut, herbs, stacks of leather, ore for smelting, and basic enchanting mats set aside to level each of those professions. Blacksmiths and engineers would probably want to stock some ore as well, but wait to smelt at least some of it.
Even if your set-up isn’t so elaborate, decide what professions you want on what characters, and level them up now. Designate your gatherers and your crafters, and get them ready to tackle Northrend. Also, finish grinding rep that is required for pertinent profession-related items. Even now, some of the best items require old-world rep (Brilliant Mana Oil requires Friendly with Zandalar, for example.), and for at least the first several patches, Northrend will probably be the same. JC’s will likely still want lots of scale of the sand and consortium rep, Enchanters will want exalted with outlands factions, etc. It gets harder to grind rep for these things in the “old zone” so do it now! Besides, even if you change your mind about your professions later, rep is something that stays with your ‘toon. It’s kind of like saving your place with some hard-to-get patterns and recipies.
The tank and I have both stashed some decent gear for DPS grinding – I’ve read about the changes to gear coming up, but without knowing anything for sure, it just seems more prudent to be prepared with a second, specialized gearset. It’s nothing fancy; gear from badge-runs and farm content that would otherwise have been sharded. One thing I noticed about vintage gear was that even with the dramatic stats swell moving into Outlands from Azeroth, some things kept their value. Trinkets, especially, can hold up particularly well since they often grant percentages of stats and scale with the rest of your gear. If there’s a trinket or two that you think you may want, farm for it now. It’ll be much harder to get the runs you want when everyone is focused on new content. Even if you don’t PvP regularly, contemplate getting some gear with some stamina and resil for those packed starting zones on PvP servers. It’ll save you time and frustration – and it’s easy, since you can buy blues from Outlands factions that will have enough resil to make you less tempting.
Image courtesy of designkryt
This may be so obvious that I could skip it, but the single most helpful resource you can stockpile is cold, hard cash. Whatever Northrend holds, you can bet your sweet bippy that being able to buy gear, patterns, skills, and materials without difficulty will be handy. I don’t know if we’ll manage it, but I’d like to have about 10k per character. That’s in addition to each one having their epic flyer already. (The mage is the only one left without his.)
Finally, in order to give yourself plenty of distraction-free WoW, look into taking some time off work. If the xpac hits in November or December, as has been suggested, those silly people with families and holiday obligations instead of video game addictions may have requested all the available time. Let your boss know now that you may need to take a few personal days.
edit: I always ask Matt to look over my posts before they go live – he’s the one that finds the great stock illustrations. Of course, he also likes to randomly bold things….
Let’s all give him a hug!