June 19, 2010

Wow Warriors Guide: To 40 and beyond

So we resume our discussion of leveling from two weeks ago. Since that time I've worked another warrior to 80 as well as chugged along on my orc and leveled a new tauren warrior to 41. One of the great things about playing a warrior is, we don't have to write a lot about how awesome we are or how we do things better than other classes because we're cool with who we are. And when we're not cool with who we are, we slam shields or axes into things until we are.

For starters, the big three warrior cooldowns (Recklessness, Retaliation and Shield Wall) are no longer linked and now only take 3 minutes to becomes usable, making them much more active and promoting their use over making the cautious warrior hold onto them for emergencies. While you won't have Recklessness in the 21 - 40 range, you will gain both Shield Wall and Retaliation in these levels, and you won't be forced to pick between them.

Also, you'll get a mount at level 20. Cherish it. When I first leveled a warrior I had to run everywhere until level 40, and at 40 you got the 60% speed mount. Now at level 40 you get an epic! You kids today are spoiled.

Looking over the non talented abilities available between 21 - 40, not much at all has changes between those BC days and now. For talents, since Shield Slam is just a trainable skill, the level 40 warrior will have Bloodthirst, Mortal Strike and Vigilance within reach. However, two years of class design and innovations like LFD mean that my conclusion from 2007 that prot spec was the worst leveling spec is entirely altered. Prot is an excellent leveling spec now, much stronger than it was. You can use prot to quest and grind (especially when you can pull many mobs at once) and, thanks to LFD, prot is also excellent for running dungeons over and over again for extra rewards and lots of XP. (My orc now has a prot offspec which she uses when I want to get a lot of XP fast.)

I deliberately chose to level the tauren as arms on a server where I have no other characters to funnel honor or heirlooms just to see how hard it is. Answer: it's not hard. The LFD tool and early epic mount is an absolute godsend. Even in leveling/quest greens you can get into at least one or two instances a day fairly easily. Even without the XP boost from heirlooms, leveling is much easier when you're more mobile and able to get around to quest hubs faster than ever and get some instances to supplement your questing.

Between 21 and 40 the dungeons you'll be running scale from Razorfen Kraul and Blackfathom Deeps/SFK upwards to cover the wings of Scarlet Monastery, and by 41 you'll have wings of Maraudon as well as Zul'Ferrak available to you as well as Uldaman. Frankly, I let the LFD tool do the work of choosing an instance for me, but if I had to pick one of these to run the most it would be Scarlet Monastery. You still only get plate at level 40, and there's a lot of solid mail pieces, some weapons for the aspiring arms or even fury warrior, and a heck of a shield for any leveling prot warrior. Between 30 and 40 SM is an absolutely happening dungeon complex all told.

The Berserker Stance questline is at level 30. It can be easy to miss, so make sure to check with your trainers and get it done to ensure you have access to all your abilities. It will also open up the Cyclonian questline. I can't recommend doing the Cyclonian questline enough, even if you do end up having to rip a lot of troll teeth out in STV. Hey, you have a mount now! There's no excuse not to do it.

You also get more options if you choose to level through PvP as well. Arathi Basin opens up to you at these levels, meaning you can still grind honor through BG's and the rewards from either the Defilers (for Horde) or League of Arathor (Alliance) become available. If you have the honor, you could easily get boots, a belt and more as soon as you hit level 28 and can upgrade every 10 levels. Since these rewards are itemized without resilience on them, they're suitable for both PvE and PvP content.

Basically, what the three years between trips through these levels have done is to improve everything in large and small ways. If you're leveling a warrior alt and can afford items like Heirlooms and Wintergrasp Commendations, you can very easily keep a toon geared up, but even without access to those conveniences it is not hard at all to move a warrior through these 20 levels of content in any spec you choose. Improvements in mobility, in talent selection, the addition of the LFD feature and the ability to queue up for PvP from anywhere in the world give you a wide variety of options for how you're going to level your warrior. Where talents and abilities have changed (and the only really big change is that all warriors get shield slam regardless of spec at level 40) they've only streamlined the experience.

In a week or two, we'll go from Azeroth to Outland and look at how that's improved.

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