Tuesday, January 20, 2009

They Both Screwed Up

Kathy and I watched the inauguration on teevee, and had a quick discussion about which of them screwed up the oath of office. I think we agreed that Roberts dorked it up, but the Language Log says they're both guilty. For extra bonus points, there are even Constitutional references in there! Win!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recruit-A-Friend: A Post Mortem

On Thursday, the 90 days of my triple XP from Recruit-A-Friend (RAF) expires. I didn’t make the best use of my time, and at this point I really wish I had gotten serious about using it sooner. I wanted to scribble down a few notes in case I can save somebody else a bit of trouble.

First, let me say that I was trying to level up alts via dual-boxing. My wife and oldest daughter were just normally questing (they’re also RAF linked), and they got up to the low 40’s without much difficulty, but also without really working on it. If you just want to level up normally but faster, then go right ahead. Have fun. If this is you, then the rest of this won’t really apply to you.

Fun With Dual-Boxing

Like I said, I was trying to level up multiple alts. My original plan was to play two characters at a time, and then do paid transfers to get them from the linked account to my account after it was all said and done. I set up my environment  as suggested by WoWWiki and rolled up my first pair: a warrior and a rogue. I set the rogue on autofollow and drove the warrior. When I got into combat, I’d click back and forth between the windows furiously clicking and typing. It sort of worked until I got up to about level 10, where I was overwhelmed by the complexity of playing two reactive melee classes.

I looked at what was making things difficult, and it was that the follower needed to stop following to start fighting. Clearly I needed a caster as a follower instead. I also wanted to reduce the workload in managing the follower, so I wanted him to have two or three useful things to do.

I got a key broadcaster, so that any buttons I pressed in the main window would be duplicated into the follower’s window. I setup a handful of macros (follow the leader, assist the leader, heal the leader, get on/off your mount), and rolled up a rogue with a priest follower.

That worked much better. I drove the rogue, and when I ran into combat I’d hit the “assist the leader” button and the priest would Smite. I’d hit the “heal the leader” button and the priest would heal me. That worked great until about level 20 or so, when occasionally the priest would pull healing aggro and then I couldn’t kill the mobs before the priest ate it.

I refined the macros a bit to use “[target=focustargettarget,nodead,help][target=focustarget,nodead,help][target=focus,nodead,help][]” and to set the leader as focus. That worked almost perfectly almost all the time. I still died occasionally, but it was rarely from not getting the priest to do what I wanted him to do.

Leveling Guides

I am a big fan of Jame's Leveling Guides. I fdllowed his guides to level up my main from about 20 to 74 and was very impressed with the speed of progress and with the completeness of the guides. I also liked the price (free).

When dual-boxing, of course, you have to complete the quests for both toons. I never found a good way to automate the quest turn-ins, or to automate the looting, so I would have to click back and forth between windows to turn in quests, loot kills, and get the occasional quest that couldn’t be shared.

Also, I didn’t do all of the quests. In fact, I skipped over a whole lot of them, and skipped entirely doing quite a few zones. That’s because collection quests with drop rates that aren’t close to 100% really suck, and with 3x XP I didn’t have to do them. So I didn’t. Even with skipping collection quests, I still hit the level cap for the 3x XP well before the end of the guides.

Near the end, I gave TourGuide a try. This is an in-game addon that automates a leveling guide. It has a very minimal display normally, automatically tracks your progress through the guide with per-toon records, and is generally a lovely tool. Jame hasn’t posted most of his guide in TourGuide format, so there’s that to consider, but where the TourGuide guide matched the quests I was doing, it made it significantly easier to do (I did all of Dustwallow Marsh using TourGuide).


I enjoyed this, and will enjoy my new alts. I wish I had started seriously leveling them up as soon as I started the RAF instead of waiting until it was almost over because then I would have had a full set of toons at level 60+ instead of just the seven I’ve got now.

The dual-boxing was a fun challenge, and I enjoyed using my followers to help level up. I am looking forward to not having to use them, though, as they still represent a certain amount of duplicate effort (getting two full sets of loot items, clicking over to get/turn in quests, etc).

I also really enjoyed skipping all the stupid collection quests since I didn’t have to do them. Yay!

If you’re considering dual-boxing to leverage your RAF bonus, then I say “go for it.” If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to try to answer them.