WoW: 80 != 80

Reminisce with me.

It’s many years ago. (We won’t say how many.)

We have our Cheetos. We have our Mountain Dew. (It’s in the fridge, duh.)

Piles of books and scraps of paper are strewn liberally around the living room.

We’re all lounging on couches, sprawled in chairs, stretched out on the floor.

Character creation is in full swing.

“Ok, I’ve got an 18 in strength.”

“Roll your exceptional strength percentile.”

*shake* *shake* *shake* *roll*

“Yeah! 94!”

“That’s going to get you a +5 to damage, +2 to hit, encumbrance of 235 pounds, and a max press of 380 pounds.”

I imagine about 3 of you understood that. So here’s the explanation for the rest of you:

In the days of yore and Dungeons & Dragons, we rolled dice to get ability scores for our characters. (This by the way, is why we call it “rolling” a character in RPGs nowadays even though the randomness has been removed from character creation in most games.)

Abilities were very similar to what you’re familiar with in WoW: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma. WoW owes much of its design to the fantasy RPGs that preceded it.

Before racial adjustments, scores for any given stat ranged from 3 to 18. 10 to 12 was average, 3 was horrible, 18 was kick ass. (This all changed in 3rd Ed, we’re talking old school here.)

Way back in the days of Advance Dungeons & Dragons (and possibly before, but I don’t have those books to verify), the tweaky part came in for the Strength roll. If you got an 18 in Strength, you could then roll a percentile chance to get even better. The closer to 100 your roll, the better your strength.

A character with 18 STR and a percentile of 1% could carry 135 pounds and bench press 280.

A character with 18 STR and a percentile of 100% could carry 335 pounds and bench press 480.

That’s what being at level cap is like in WoW.

A character at level 80 might have 1500 spell power or 20k HP.

A character at level 80 might have 3500 spell power or 55k HP.

There are three schools of thought regarding leveling characters. (And yes, this all ties back in to raiding… eventually)

School of Speed: Fuck leveling, get to end game as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about the journey, it’s the destination that matters. This is the school often recommended to me when I mention that I’m leveling a healer or a tank AS a healer or a tank. “Don’t do that, just get to 80 and then worry about it.” Now if everyone in the game took that approach to leveling, go DPS or go home, we would be greeted by many hours of this:

School of Twink: If you’re going to do something, do it right. Every piece of gear has the best enchants and the best gems. Those pieces of gear are the best that can be crafted or purchased. If we can’t make it or buy it, the best drops and quest rewards have been researched and obtained. And then do more research! This method is all about squeezing out the last bit of potential from a character every step of the way.

School of Whatever. We’ll get there when we get there in whatever gear we happened to pick up. Quests are done for the enjoyment, not for the sole purpose of an uber reward. Enchants and gems might be present, someone was giving them away free on top of the Org bank to level up.

I think I’m a blend of the last two and it’s very dependent on the character’s situation.

My mage was pretty much in the School of Whatever with a bit more research, certainly not as bad as my poor warrior. But he was leveled without a main to support him so had to earn all his toys without the benefit of me having the experience of knowing how to get those toys fast and easy.

For my priest, I am terrified of getting to level 80 and not knowing how to heal. I’ve learned a lot so far in the 1 – 70 leveling process, and have been very thankful that I was learning it with friends. I hope they continue to be patient as we hit the content that now really starts to tickle. Because of this pressure (self-inflicted) to succeed, my priest is twinked. I have the best gear I can make for him from my mage’s tailoring. I have every piece enchanted (not always with Northrend quality yet, but soon). My gems are ones I cut myself with my power-leveled JC. I’m now at the point where I can make choices while healing and am starting to poke around for good priest healing blogs (drop me your suggestions in the comments!).

For my DK, I don’t have a lot of cash on that server so his options are a little more limited. I do have some experience in making a bit of coin, so he has his flier and has never come up short when it’s time to train or repair. I stopped tanking on him when I hit Wrath material because I felt my gear was lagging too far behind to not be laughed out of a pug random. I have saved the day on a few occasions with a quick pop to frost and blowing cooldowns when the tank drops, but I can’t support full tanking on him without giving a level-appropriate healer a coronary. My gem slots have BC-era gems, but most of my gear is still from BC. I waited until 72 or so to move to NR so I’m a bit behind on quest gear. I have a few pieces enchanted by my little pally. What I lack in gear, I’m making up for in commitment. I’m hammering out my rotations and grilling Dark/Soth for tips, I even stole his spec and glyphs. It’s paying off; I’m beating out most and beaten by few in damage or DPS. (Because GS = skill, amirite?)

My pally is in the same boat (and same server) as my DK. Adrift with no BoA or other support from my mage, they’re doing the best they can on their own. The pally is leveling enchanting and inscription and so supplies those services to both characters. She is primarily leveling through random instances – as a healer. This experience should carry over to help me on my priest since he primarily only heals people I know and trust. My poor pally ends up with tanks wielding the BoA-version of the Arcanite Reaper (“do you have a shield?” “lol, no, why u ask?”) or the pally tank that never judges (or does any other ability and can’t understand why white damage alone is not holding threat).

There’s just no way I could do the School of Speed. I would miss too much about the development of my character, and I do mean the mechanics not RP development. I power leveled another pally through some dungeon runs just to get his inscription leveled. I have no idea how to play him. He has so many skills and abilities that I don’t even know where to start, I might as well have just eBayed him for all of as much as I understand him.

That isn’t to say that the fastest school is bad, I’m sure there are plenty of people that can do it. But there are also plenty of people that *shouldn’t* do it. Not everyone knows which of those two camps they belong in and we have a tendency to believe the best possible potential for our friends, possibly encouraging them to take a speedier route than they should.

I’m in no rush to get to 80.

Once we hit max cap, we’re there for a long time. Cataclysm is hardly on the horizon.

Unlike D&D where you roll your exceptional strength percentile once at character creation and it’s carved in stone for the rest of their days (or until you get a Ring of Wishes), in WoW we have the opportunity to raise that bar at level cap.

The level 80 we are the day we ding is not (hopefully) the same level 80 we are 1 or 2 or 3 months down the road.

Which leveling school do you belong to?

34 comments on “WoW: 80 != 80

  1. Raven says:

    Pencil and paper…ah those were the days. I miss it. D&D, Whitewolf, Rifts, you name it I probably played it. I guess I had a few things to run from at one time. We never used an exceptional strength percentile we just used the modifyer that came with the 18. +to damage, +to hit, and carry whatever. Was this a first ed cause I started at 2nd….I think. Anyway…

    I blogged the rest of my response (or will) cause I hate being wordy in comments.


  2. Darraxus says:

    I rush to the cap. I love playing at 80. Not so much leveling anymore as I have 5 80s and several more between 59-70.

    Oh, and I have TONS of AD&D books. I LOVED tabletop rpgs. Unfotunately, most of my friends who played with me moved well out of reach.


  3. rustbeard says:

    Well, I do speed level, but while learning my class. I take more time and enjoy the lore in areas I haven’t been before. I suspect when Cat comes out, I’ll be taking my time and enjoying the ride.

    And, percentile strength didn’t come into play until AD&D – as someone who remembers D&D Basic (boy, I just dated myself). Funny, I was a dwarf there too.


  4. Delerius says:

    Inb4 more RPG reminiscing… oh wait.

    If so many of us wow’ers and especially wow bloggers miss it so much, what if we started up a D&D-by-blog? Would that work at all?


  5. Orangeslice says:

    ahh good old AD&D 18(66) i miss my fighter….

    4th edition – seems to me at least more like as Ari described school of speed leveling. Much more action oriented at least to me.


  6. koalabear21 says:

    World of Matticus is good. Miss Medicina is awesome and the priest articles (written by Matticus) on are also good. I tend to read all the healer articles even though I only heal (at the moment) on my druid. WoM has several blog links on their site to other healing blogs so that might help to point you in the right direction.

    Last night I decided I was finally going to do something with my priest. Leveling with her was hell so I figured I would just level her through the random dungeon system as holy. I snagged Matticus’ holy raiding spec he mentioned at and set to work getting her what she needed. It is like playing dress up! :D That reminds me, I need to run MC on my lock to get those stupid weapon enchants >.>

    It had been so long since I played her that she was still geared wrong from when I didn’t really know how to play. Her necklace had +strength on it! *sigh* I wish I knew what I had been thinking at that time. Especially since she is a JC and could have made a better one!

    I never got to play tabletop games. My friend Andrew has wanted me to play them with him, but he never got a game going to where I could be taught.

    I am more of a take my time leveler. I still read the quest text (assuming I havent been there 20 billion times) and try to take each character through a different area. I enjoy leveling.

    I also enjoy raiding though too. Makes me sad when I ask in gchat if we are raiding and I get crickets chirping. *sigh*


    • Orangeslice says:

      Bring your priest to the darkside. we need moar priests or locks etc.


    • telanarra says:

      um orange we’re the light side


    • Delerius says:

      More priests or locks would be good, but we don’t need another resto druid. Really. 5 was plenty enough for 1 raid.


    • koalabear21 says:

      LOL just what I need, another guild I would be responsible to >.>

      My priest most likely wont be going anywhere because she is my JC and I need one at max level. I was going to level my pally next, but I really don’t need a high level blacksmith.

      I do need to get a character over to you guys at some point though.


  7. […] Categories: Healing Tags: Healing, leveling, shaman, world of warcraft, WOW Inspired by this […]


  8. Orangeslice says:

    5 resto druids….plenty of those…

    We are the lightside? Since when? With a guild name of shadow rising…I thought we wuz evillllll


  9. daemia says:

    I’d love to be in the School of Speed, but I just don’t have the commitment to doing it. I tried being in the School of Twinking, but since I filled up all ten character slots on my main server very early on, I just didn’t have the cashflow to support all of them that way. So I ended up in the School of Whatever.

    And the School of Whatever suits me fine. I have a rogue with some heirloom items, and it’s kind of disappointing to finish a red group quest, get the reward…and realize that it’s not really an upgrade. Not that I’m not grateful for the exp bonus and the ever-improving weapons and stats, but getting upgrades (even if they kind of suck in the larger scheme of things) is part of the fun for me.


  10. Zarigar says:

    Graduate of the School of Whatever. Occassionally takes courses from the School of Speed.


  11. Orangeslice says:

    Koala mentioned some very good priesty blogs. others i recommend – 2 belf priests, bonus points. one holy one disc – ally priest i think. – disc priest guide over to the side. is always nice for healy stuffs as well.


  12. smart001 says:

    I start characters, get them to about 20-30 and then they sit. At least until I get a wild hari up my ass to finally hit 80.

    My hunter actually took a long time, as it was my first toon and i was doing it by myself.

    Second Toon was my warlock, she sat at 24 for a few months, then hit 80 about 45 casual days after i started playing her again. She now sits in org, making potions and money for me in iLevel 200 gear.

    3rd 80 was my resto druid. Smoked the shit out of leveling taht one, in BG mostly. I think i got him to 80 in about a month in between raids on my hunter. He is now my main and is fairly well geared (did 10k effective HPS the other night because my other healers were being silly, and I had 100% of the decurses during that time).

    Next 80 will be my warrior, he is at 73 right now, and should be 80 by the end of the week.

    So you see, I level quick. I don’t like the leveling process, it irritates me.


  13. tebla says:

    My mother thought D&D was Satanic. Seriously, I was not able to play it at all. This was the early 80’s and that was the stigma. Even though I read fantasy constantly, I was not able to play. I am still a little bitter :)


  14. ambient says:

    Definitely visit Miss Medicina for “whaaa how do i become a priest??” advice (healing specs only). She even has guides for leveling as Holy, which almost make it sound fun. As senior priest in a guild with lots of levelers, I love having MM in my back pocket for when I get questions from newbie priests — cos then I don’t have to write it all out myself!

    And I um, kind of think Matticus is akin to those fake article websites that just exist to get ad imprints. (Heresy?) They don’t actually have anything to SAY over there. It’s one idea blown up into several hundred words of “article”. You’ll spend all day and hardly learn anything, certainly nothing comprehensive for the beginner.


  15. Some Orc says:

    I used to play baulders gate and i remember sitting there for hours trying to roll 18/00 and get the maximum amount of points for all my stats. I gave up and ended up maxing out the stats for my melee machine of death. He had max str, dex, and const. He had very little wis, int, and char so he was a lil dull but he could hit hard. I just had the other people in the party do the talkin for the group :)


  16. Jaedia says:

    I’m not really sure, see, I like to use heirlooms and check the AH for affordable upgrades quite often. I like to do dungeons a lot, for the gear, and for a break from questing. I like to quest to get out of an area and move onto the next. I guess you could say I twink a little, and try to hurry up, though that’s purely because if I take too much time I get very bored of playing that character.


  17. Nagu says:

    I like to level characters as different specs than I plan to play them, so at 80, instead of half-knowing how to play, I can actually relearn the spec and know what all my moves do.


  18. Angoril says:

    I am currently working on my first main character(before now I wasn’t ever able to get past level 30 :P), so I am taking the School of Whatever form of leveling and primarily doing quests, achievements, and an occasional dungeon but almost no pvp. Sadly even though in the past few levels I have done better dps and stayed alive more I still do not feel like I know the class as well as I should and I know that my gear isn’t even close to twinked. :( I hope that once I am level 80 I will start to fully grasp it better.


  19. […] also have a post that compares end game gearing to the exception strength percentile roll in D&D. No, seriously, it makes […]


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