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Leveling a Druid from 73 to 80 in one weekend
Written by cd34.

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun. A Resto druid with nothing but the TBC end-game epics needed to get from 70 to 80. Without any feral gear, it was going to be tough. Stuck in Grizzly Hills with no other gear at mid-73 left a quandary. After 3.1, talent points were reset, so, what do you do?

Having all spellpower and mp5 gear meant Boomkin. Going into the Resto tree far enough down to get Intensity and spending the rest of the points on Balance to get Moonkin form, Improved Moonkin form and Dreamstate for the mana regen. Moonglow was also filled into give me cheaper spells. A few stacks of [item]33444[/item] and I’m on my way.

Leveling any character has been about the same path — when you are the minimum level to enter a zone, you immediately head there. I altered that slightly and finished up some of the quest hubs in Grizzly so that I could head to Zul’Drak about 1/3 of the way into 74. The gear dropped in Northrend definitely suggests that a Druid level as Feral. I debated switching around 75 after having collected enough decent gear, but, my mana problems were almost gone by mid-75 and I was able to kill, CC and take on multiple mobs without having to drink very often. After doing most of the quests in Zul’Drak I was well into 75 and headed to Sholazar Basin. Sholazar got me through most of 76, but, I needed 77 for Cold Weather Flying and to quest in Storm Peaks and Icecrown. That required a little backtracking into Grizzly Hills to finish up the ‘Hour of the Worg’ and the mining area.

At 77 I debated which path to take. On my priest I took Icecrown first and finished up in Storm Peaks opening up the Hodir chain. Since the druid was going to be a healer, Hodir Rep, Argent Crusade rep and Knights of the Ebon Blade rep are somewhat handy. Sure you can champion two of those, but, the questing does give a lot of rep. I decided to take on the K3 quest hub and do those quests to open up the Hodir rep hub. After finishing up most of the quests, one of the final quests to open up the Hodir dailies dinged 78. After turning in a few completed quests, it was time to hearth to Dalaran.

Upon reaching Dalaran, I realized that I hadn’t hit a trainer in quite a while and surely some of the spells I was using had upgrades. 350 gold later and I’m fully trained. From the Dalaran flight path it was a quick jump down to the Argent Crusade live-instance quest hub. Finishing up those quests opened up two flight paths and the trip to Ogrim’s Hammer. At 2/3 through 78, it was time to hit the flying boat quest hub and then move on to Shadow Vault. By the time I made it to Shadow Vault, it wasn’t long before I hit 79. At 73, I had full rest-xp which ran out about 1/3 into 79.

I didn’t do any instances and almost all of the questing was done solo with the exception of some group quests along the way. Where we could, Qwaitxfour assisted on some of the group quests. It was relatively easy to find group quests when I mentioned that I wasn’t specced as a healer, but could be happy to heal. We 3-manned the Amphitheater of Anguish which gave me [item]41822[/item] which replaced the old Gladiator’s Gavel earned at 70. Even with +43 spellpower on the old gavel, the new mace had more spellpower.

At 77-78, as a Boomkin I’m doing quite a bit of damage. Highest crit on a starfire in quest gear was a 6990. At 77, I had about 224mp5 while casting — leaving me an incredibly efficient rotation for taking out mobs. Most of the pulls were Starfire, Root, Insect Swarm, Starfire, Wrath – dead. I could grind through 12-13 mobs with careful pulls. I watched a Feral Druid questing in Sholazar Basin and debated respeccing since I had saved all of the quest gear. I saw that same druid again in Icecrown and I was easily taking out mobs 30% faster than he was. Balance requires a decent mix of spellpower and mp5 and even with some of the quest items, a decent mix of cloth and leather did quite nicely. Looking back, I’d have to say that late 75/early 76 is about where you start to bypass feral in quest/grinding speed.

If I had to do it over again, I would take a lot of the feral gear given in the 70-71 areas, and spec feral until about 75 at which point I’d switch over to Balance. In terms of actual playtime, 73 through 76 took about two and a half hours each, 77 took about 3 hours and 78/79 took about 4 hours each mostly due to the fact that I didn’t have the epic flier.

Some of the things that helped considerably along the way were Lootfilter and Carbonite. I tried Questhelper for about 20 minutes and just couldn’t get it to work right. Carbonite’s interface is simple and easy to use and makes it easy to figure out where to go for each quest. Pick up all of the quests at a hub, run through each of the areas that it highlights on its own minimap and it is quite easy. Objective areas are marked with an X and you have a small heads-up arrow that points you in the right direction for the next item in a quest. Incomplete quests are presented in order by distance allowing you to focus on and complete the closest quests first.

It was a tough run, but, well worth having another healer on Cho’gall.

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