Newsflash of the utterly obvious; there have been a LOT of Beta invites going out the last week.

Word is, there has been such a deluge of new Beta players on the three Beta realms (2 PvE realms, one PvP realm) that, at least in the starter zones, things are virtually unplayable from lag.

As the old quote goes, “Cry me a river, liberal.”

Sorry, movie quotes make up 56%* of my vocabulary. If you take them away from me, I would no longer be able to string together these word-type thingies into what I like to call complete sentences, but what my old english teacher might have better called “A brutal violation of the rules of English, and a crime against the very concept of language itself.”

Anyway…

Yes, there are many, many, MANY people playing in the Beta right now.

Chances are good that many of you, however, are not amongst that number.

Let me speak, for a moment, to those of you not in the Beta.

Right now, there is a large group of people that are acquiring that most sacred and valuable of things, from which all other power is derived; knowledge.

They are finding out where to go. They are discovering who the quest givers are. They are finding out where the mobs are to complete those quests. And they are exploring the land, mapping it out, and getting a solid feel for where flight paths, vendors, Inns, mailboxes, and quest hubs are all located.

When the expansion is released, there will be a very large group of people that have already done it all once, and they are going to make a mad, crazed sprint for the front lines to get a jump on everyone else in the race to 80.

Even better for them, they are learning lessons right now, in the Beta, that are helping them to prepare their live characters for what to do.

Like clearing out their quest logs of old filler, so they are clean for the new quests in Northrend.

Or clearing out bank space and bag space of old world things that they will not want cluttering up room, like tons of Netherweave Cloth or Adamantite Ore.

When BC was released, remember all the Enchanting mats that were suddenly worthless on the AH? The other formerly end game mats for crafting that tanked?

The market found a new balance for those old world mats, based on the age of the BC expansion, and altitis as people finished their first level 70s and began making new alts and powerleveling new tradeskills. But it took a long time to happen before the value of those mats rose again.

After about 4 months, most folks that hit 70 already made alts, took their massive reserves of money, and bought mats to level powerskills right off the AH instead of farming themselves. You have had time to become used to the going rates for Thorium Ore, Heavy Knothide Leather, Felweed and Void Crystals.

Kiss that market goodbye. The stuff that is your current end game material will be tomorrow’s vendor trash.

And the people in the Beta know this now, and are clearing their bags of hoarded goodies right now while there might still be decent demand.

And that’s just the financial part of what is to come.

So you have some decisions to make.

Do you want to be on the leading edge of the leveling to 80 wave or not?  

If so, and you are not in the Beta, you need to be looking for maps of the area, and trying to mentally chart where you will go first, and figure out in advance where flight paths and quest hubs are, and profession trainers, and know in advance how you will repsec and where to train class skills (Hint: See old world class trainers. Still.).

If you want to be in the front of the pack, you will need to work harder to develop that knowledge.

But it can certainly be done. And if you do it, you can take pride in not having gained an advantage through the Beta… no matter how much of your research depended on the efforts of those Beta testers to help you out by sharing their experiences.

But there is a flip side to this.

As the mad dash floods the harbor of Stormwind, ready to catch that boat to Northrend, there might be another option for you.

For most of us, that moment when we finally nailed 70 was the moment we stopped really completing quests, and started working on Professions, doing 5 man instances, raiding, and working on leveling alts.

I know there are those folks that did every quest at 70 for the money to get an Epic Flying Mount, but for most of us, the option remains to stay in the Outlands, and hit up those quest givers in Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm.

Even if you did clear every single possible Outland quest on your main, you probably have at least one level 70 alt that could do those quests for, say… a week. Right? Quests that will suddenly be giving you XP all over again.

So you have to decide… do you compete with other folks, who will know where to go and will be flooding the new zone, causing lag, server instability, and a crushing competition for mob spawns…

Or do you take a week/weekend off from Northrend, let the rest of the players get a weeks head start on you and level past the starting zones, while you continue to gain XP in Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley on known mobs and locations, in places where your epic flight mount still works?

It’s a tough call. No, I’m not kidding. It really is.

The desire to see new things and experience new challenges burns strong in us adventurers…

And you know most of your friends will be rushing forward, and trumpeting in guild chat every drop and quest reward that is an upgrade, making you feel left out, no matter how much fun you’re having.

But it’s a serious question… if you go into Northrend on opening week, and you weren’t here when Burning Crusade was released, you have NO IDEA how swamped that first zone will be, and just how… heck, theres no other way to put it, how downright nasty so many other players truly show themselves to be.

That first week in Hellfire Peninsula was an eye opener for me, I’ll tell you that.

The most obvious ones were the soloers and small group or guild players that you never saw before, the ones that are strangers to everyone. People who either have no guild tag, or have guild names you just can’t remmeber ever having seen before in the entire time you’ve been playing.

They came pouring out of the woodwork as massive ganking kill-stealing large group chain-pulling mob-slaying loot-whoring asshats, reveling in the fact that they can get to a mob just a millisecond before you did… and then /spit at you, just for fun.

Do you remember them? After a week or two, they disappeared again, having speed leveled up to 70 and returned to whereever the heck hole they came from. Maybe that expains why the asshats in Trade channel have so much free time.

But there are the other problems, problems mostly seen in raiding guilds. Raiding guilds filled with people that had always been friendly in raids and quests and instances, laid back and ready to drop what they were putzing with and coe lend a hand, or hang out and just have fun. People that would see something drop and say “No, you go aherad and take it, it’s cool. That’s a nice upgrade for you.” People that just seemed to like to hang out and enjoy playing with others in the guild…

And then when the expansion came, they showed themselves to just have been bored and not cared about that stuff cause it wasn’t that big a deal to their bored selves, but once there was a new expansion, and new stuff they actually WANTED dropped or was possible to be found in instances, or there were new shinies to go find… they vanished into small, tight cliques of 5 people and no longer had time for anyone or anything else, including civility to their guilds.

Previously unsuspected inner cliques were revealed, and people that thought they were friends found out they were just there to fill out 40 man raids.

Guilds crashed big time, do you remember? Guilds wouldn’t have been torn apart as bad if they hadn’t cut the numbers needed to raid from 40 to 25, and even to 10 at the beginning, but all that means is that the inner cliques would have kept kissing up to people they didn’t really like that were just there for raids. It wouldn’t change the fact that the inner cliques existed.

There will still be 25 man raids… but all content can be done with 10 people now. Are you certain that the 25 man raiding guild you’re in now actaully WANTS you on the runs?

Yeah, so did most people in most guilds.

Were you there that first week? Do you really REMEMBER?

Burning Cursade, in that first week, changed a lot of things, and brought out a side of people we really didn’t want to see, no matter whether we knew it was there or not.

After a week or two, things calmed WAY the heck down. The ramifications of guild politics were long lasting, but the immediate asshattedness was short lived.

Yeah, it’s a serious question… how badly do you want to hit Northrend first? Or are you willing to follow behind the wave, and be behind the discovery curve, and listen to others talk about what they saw, and what they did…  and wait until the crush of players clear a little so you have a calmer, more relaxed trip through the fresh new content?

Whether you are in the Beta or not, now is the time to prepare yourself mentally and decide just what it is you want to do…

Are you going to clear your existing quest log and be ready to dash to Northrend…

Or are you going to seek out every quest you can find in Outlands, and be ready to level in familiar territory?

Either way…

Right now, it pays to at least find out where the new Profession trainers are, and where you will need to go to get your next level of mastery. Because whether you are in the new world or the old, you’ll still be farming Herbs, Ore or Skins that will give you skillups, and there is no sense in wasting that time without reason.

The rest… well, the rest will come when it comes.

EDIT Added:

Well, there is one more thought for ya’all…

Death Knights are super awesome cool… so cool that tons of people are going to want to play one. And they are designed to level super fast in their starting zone, so that right when they finish their quests, they are actually dinging 58 and can go straight to Outlands.

So as Lady Jess said, there will be a flood of brand new 58 Death Knights, of both factions, invading Hellfire Peninsula, and desiring mats to powerlevel their professions.

I’m sure some of them will be in the old Azeroth zones leveling Mining, Herbing and Skinning, but I’m gonna guess most will want to get higher in Outlands first, to get their 51 point Talents.

Be that as it may… on PvP servers, you will have an entire zone loaded with level 58 characters…

That first week of leveling in Hellfire is going to be HELL for those level 58s.

I am POSITIVE that there will be lonely level 70 gankers just wandering around, slaughtering at will.

My advice? Find some leveling buddies to team with who will also play a DK at start, so you can present a force of five or more level 58s to show a united front.

Or, of course, enlist a friend or two from your guild to chaperone! But where is the fun in that? Wouldn’t it be more fun to take them down as a roaming pack of 58+?

* By the way, did you know that over 96.4% of most published statistics are made up on the spot?

22 Responses to “How do these Beta invites affect your expansion preparations?”
  1. Erthshade says:

    I had the ‘good’ fortune to get into the BC beta at one point, and copied three characters over. Three characters that, once the expansion went live, haven’t broken level 64 because I just couldn’t stand the thought of levelling them up through the same content /again/. That’s why I have no desire to be in the Wrath beta.

    I still take new alts through level 60 as much as I can in Azeroth, and suspect I will do so for Outland when Northrend comes live. It’s my own time about this I’ll be taking, that’s for sure, since I know the Blizzard-glorified holy grail of raiding does not await me at 80, any more than it’s within my grasp now.

    And if someone chooses to think they’re somehow better for being faster to 80?
    /golfclap
    /shoo
    Let me get on with my game.

  2. Cy says:

    It’s a tough call, but I saved most of those 70 quests in SMV for a reason, and I’m not going to back down from them to go visit the destined-to-be-lag-ridden lands of Northrend during week one. I will likely do those quests and do my dailies, then buy up some mats from the AH and start leveling my professions.

    I might go to Northrend to start leveling fishing (and thus cooking) a bit however, since that can be done without fighting for mob spawns. Just set myself up in a corner somewhere, away from the crowds. Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people….

  3. Adam says:

    I actually did wait a week or so before starting to level in Outland when BC came out. I was one piece away from getting my full field marshal set of gear and there was still a lot of people playing BGs so I spent the first week of BC doing that as many people in my guild asked, “Why the heck aren’t you levelling yet?”

    I think it’s a good move to be a little behind the curve. People are always going to level at different rates so even if you do wait a week or so you’ll never be that far behind anyway.

    Finally, I did get into Beta in the last week and I’m purposely not doing any quests/levelling in Northrend. I’ll be going through all those quests a bunch of times with all my alts anyway so why force myself to do it another unnecessary time. But I’m definitely still flying around, exploring, finding the trainers/flight paths anyway. A fun thing I did when BC came out was the first thing I did when I got to Outland was run around and get all the flight paths (and dying a few times in the process). Don’t know if I’d be able to do that now because I know some zones are designed for flying mounts or, for instance, you can’t get into Dalaran without being summoned/ported until level 74.

  4. nimnix says:

    It’s not so much a decision for me as a fact. I level slow. I already know I don’t play enough to level first to 80, and even in beta, I just don’t do much exploration. I care more about talent distribution and what I can do right now.

    Since I don’t have many friends on the same server playing at the same time, even the 5-mans are difficult for me to do, because lord knows I don’t want to pug. I’m behind the curve all the time, so my time playing WoW is always peaceful and relatively lag-free. And it’s kinda funny listening to people whine about lag times and overcrowding and the new batch of griefers in a zone while I go around doing whatever it is I do.

  5. Tilder says:

    Nice read, and even nicer to see someone else realise the ‘truth’ of Wrath. So you got into Beta, and you level’d your toon to 80. Get ready to do it all again when retail version hits!

    Its fun to poke around in Wrath, read the information being posted and all that. But there’s a lot to be said to wait for Lightheaded (or whatever quest helper tool you may use) is updated, with coordinates and then YOU TOO can walk through it after the hordes of asshats have been through.

    I plan on spending some time in Netherstorm then SMV. My toon is t5/t6 type stuff, and with no one around, it’ll be a breeze (until I need help with group quests).

    Again, nice read :)

  6. Lady Jess says:

    my druid still has SMV and netherstorm to do, specifically because she’s my hardest to level and more time in places I know for all the xp I can get is a bonus.

    BUT just as the new zones will be swarmed with 70’s carging through the gates, outland will be teeming with…Death Knights, who will mostly be alts that know THAT zone really well. And a good number of them were in the TBC release of those ganking, /spitting, grief giving monstrosities that make a DK ghoul pet look classy…lol

  7. bigbearbutt says:

    Hey Lady Jess… that’s a good point, but if I gotta hope that if you take a week or two to hit Netherstorm and Shadowmoon valley…

    hopefully, those Death Kniggets (to use a BRKism) who dinged 58 and flew to Outlands will still be going through HP, Zanger, Terrokar and Nagrand.

    I can hope, anyway. Right?

  8. Felkan says:

    Never thought about staying in the Outlands. I hit 70 early in BEM and only did a handful of quests after I hit 70 to pick-up my starter tanking set. Maybe I will spend the first week in BEM, NS and SMV. Ought to be quiet and I’ll get plenty of XP (and gold) without the lag.

    When BC came out I was only lvl 46? 48? I didn’t hit the Outlands until I was 60 about 5 weeks after BC released and I still felt like I was out in front. You could get 5-mans for RP, BF, SP, UB, etc. at the drop of a hat. As even the higher level players wanted to do them multiple times for rep and/or some odd drop. I assume the same will be true for LK.

    #1 reason for staying the Outlands longer…..I can use my Epic Flight Form!!!! Maybe I can get to 71 before I enter LK??? That’s one less level I have to suffer without my Flight form. I dread riding a stupid slow land mount again.

  9. ARA says:

    Thanks for the fun post! Ahhh I miss those days wondering around Shadowglen when the world was full of mystery and wonder… I’ll sure as hell take my time going through Northrend; new content is the best part of the game!!!! But I’ll go out there pretty quickly, I’m sure – levelling my DK & druid and maybe an alt at the same time.

    Interesting comments about guild cliques. We’ll see what happens. It may be a good chance for people to find new guilds too, if it gets really chaotic. I’m not quite sure why we bother wiping in BT over and over again right now, except that new content & new bosses is a lot of fun. But damn it, a good guild shake down could be very healthy I think. I think inner cliques are good. They’re there for a reason; people like to play with players they like, and usually the cliques I see are elite cliques – the better skilled players tend to gravitate towards one another. I’ve got no problems with that. The game design should favour much more flexible raid group composition too – for exactly that reason.

  10. Lyceum says:

    Im gathering old world mats right now,mostly ores in the hope that deathknights will mostly powerlevel a skill and just buy all the mats off the AH,started hitting the low level zones and gathering what i can from them.
    If somehow blizz gives them a starting point i still have a ton of outland ores just waiting for them to power 300-375.

  11. Galoheart says:

    I saw this post in my Blogroll and linked over and read through the whole article piece. BBB always write some grest stuff and this one as well is damn dead on a good one.

    So I’m just going to overall agree with BBB perspective. I already have a perspective of my own actually being in WotLK Beta.

    I actually enjoy the testing of Beta as well as testing the new changes to help my class. I spend a bit of time doing that and giving feedback through the Blizzard on screen Feedback surveys. I fill out everyone of them so it helps to make the game better at launch with good feedbacks on my class skills but also more so on Quests, Bugged Quests, NPC’s, Quest item drop or Spawn Rate in area to slow or not enough.

    I only usually play on 70 as a main character. I don’t spend allot of time usually playing Alts. So I’m enjoying the Beta testing quests my class and actually giving feedback. I also like to explore as well have fun on quests.

    So I’m also going to agree with BBB that a vast amount if knowledge is gained by some Beta testers in those that actually do stuff or explore. I’ll also agree that they are some other people currently in Beta that all they are doing is just mapping out a Quest Route to get from 70-80 immediately or though some other mean they can find. Some of that has already been done in Beta as well. So yes Knowledge prior to WotLK can be very Valuable depending on your reasons.

    Having leveled entirely Solo to 77 currently I can remember in my mind every quest I’ve done because I did alone and often you explore along the way learning other things most people miss or not notice. So that’s valuable for the game when it goes live. I can also say doing some quests I forsee when WotLK goes live in all the starter zones is just gonna be very chaotic or just too crowded to do. Starter zones are just going to be loaded on either sides. It’s a good idea to get away from it if possible or find quests in other areas to do for XP if need be.

    Two of the biggest things in Beta is getting FP’s and to Dalaran. A Mage can get you to Dalaran if the Mage has the Portal learned at 71 everyone else has to wait to 74 and do a quest to get there. But a Mage will be your friend at 70 starting to get there. It has Portal to all cities there. That’s invaluable and if it cost you a little gold that’s minor. Flight Paths are not to hard to get for the lower zones. Just follow the road. Yet some Flight Paths are unique and require quests to unlock for zone. These are things you learn in Beta.

    But it helps to start preparing as well. I can say getting new Titles in WotLK will have some effect and the time to start working on the the required reps is now, not when the Expac gets here. They do look cool when you see someone as “Ambassador” and such. But it’s all in whatever you like.

    But lots of DKs will be trecking through Outland and will need all
    The stuff you know they will need just like you needed them as well. But Ore I’m sure will be valuable for some reason.

    But it’s not a bad idea to start unloading inventory of stuff that will soon not have much value come the expansion. Just don’t get rid of that boss item drop just yet as you may need it to count toward your achievement kills for achievements in WotLK or will have to do them over again. As you get the boss kill credit for having the boss item in your inventory “IF” it was not updated in achievements for your character. When I transferee to Beta many bosses I killed in Heroics didnt show up because the achievement system was not in place when I killed those bosses in Heroics back then. So either you had a item from that boss in your bank to get credit from or as of right now have to go back and do all those heroics and kill the bosses to get credit on your character given such a system is now used by Blizzard in Beta. It’s just not on live server.

    But it’s good to prepare. Earning gold in WotLK is not hard either. From 70-80 I’ve earned over 3500g just from quest alone and vendoring mostly everything as well.

  12. Flawlless says:

    I have a question for all the Beta-people: Will Primals(including nether and might) and Badges of Justice be worthless in WotLK? I’ve already sold off all my enchanting mats.

  13. Galoheart says:

    Yeah all those things will just about be worthless. It’s a new game in WotLK and TBC will just about be dead.

  14. VG says:

    Ugh… as a true veteran for 4 years on WoW. I’ve seen about every major shift this game took. From people QQ’ing about Warlocks having a tank pet, to Warrior rage changes, introduction to PVP, basically new content brings a big mash of different personalities – with a common ‘goal’ if you can even call it that.

    “I am better then you.”

    If you can get over the fact, that a majority of the KS-ing, cat-calling, and overall nastiness is from that simple quote you are all set for any kind of expansion. In the end if you have self-confidence YOU will be the one to succeed in the long run; less likely YOU will get burn out.

    Honestly, let them and the beta players stroke their epeens while they can; but as soon as the content is live – don’t be ignorant and chuck your book of morals out the door; and have fun in WoW. :)

  15. Tuketi says:

    Thanks for this article, BBB… it brought to mind some of the memories I have from when BC first came out… I didn’t get BC until about a week after it came out… it was during school for me so I had no time to go and actually pick it up. :P However, even a week after its release, the asshatistry still occurred… this was back when I played on a pvp server, but still…

    I’m already not really a fan of this expansion, if only because it makes me feel like all the badges and everything I’m working so hard to get right now will be replaced 2 levels into the x-pac like in BC… because come on, replacing 40-man raid epixxx with quest blues… not cool. :/

    However, this article made me stop and think about what I’m going to do when it actually comes out… just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s going to go away. And I love this game, so I’m gonna continue playing it no matter what… I do believe, though, that I’ll be one of those people who waits a while before rushing into anything… Yep. I’ve decided.

    Thanks again. :)

  16. If Wotlk followed the same xp quantum jump as TBC (from vanilla wow) it might not be worth saving the quests/xp as the amount you are getting will be pittance compared to Northend quests & mobs. It will just not ‘efficient’ to do TBC quests post-70.

    Instead, what I plan to do is to go through as many of them pre-Wotlk as I can to get the money. I’m almost certain we are all going to need anoth 5-10K per toon along the way… to either defrost the wings on our flying mount or to purchase 310% speed flying mounts…

    I do agree about the first week experience… I was there on the first day. Even given that thanks to the time difference, there weren’t that many on, there were still enough to make the experience not so good…

    I’m not sure what I’m going to do then for the first week… :p Maybe roll another lvl 1 alt just for the heck of it? Old World Azeroth starting areas should be deserted… lol

  17. Tesh says:

    The “old world” is pretty much deserted already, an observation that I lamented and waxed philosophical about over on my blog. I wish this endless rat race to the endgame would be replaced with a “revitalize the old world” mentality. Well, that, or make the old world free to play.

    Still, if I were sitting on the level cap, waiting with bated breath for Wrath, I’d certainly step back out of the leveling crowd for a while. It’s nice to have some players around, but the lag and DK horde will be a mess.

  18. Chiana says:

    i’m not sure if you’re entirely right. it kinda depends what your leveling style is ^^ i can remember the first days of BC, and yes, hellfire truly was hell. But I usually level with my boyfriend, we’re students and we have a lot of time to play if we want to. so when we hit zangarmarsh, the hype was gone, and we peacefully leveled on – no more stress from 63 to 70 :-)

    but most of our guildmates and friends, who only did less than a level a day, they had a lot of company the whole way to 70. and this way it stayed for many weeks – i know quite a few ppl who couldn’t get the expansion right away.

  19. bigbearbutt says:

    Well Chiana, I’d have to say that, choosing to play 15+ hours a day so that you can push beyond the rest of the herd on the way to 80 is still a choice.

    You’re just choosing to commit to playing enough to not have to deal with the crowds you leave behind you.

  20. Gibbie says:

    Interesting idea, making the old world free. IF they were desparate for subscriptions (which they are not) a good idea would be to have a few servers for the freebees, and once they hit 60 and buy the game, offer free xfers to another server. We may see this eventually but not any time soon.

    As for me, i’ll be leveling alts for the first two weeks, waiting for the madness to be over (to quote aran).

  21. Badger says:

    I was in the Beta a couple of months ago. I stopped playing due to mind-numbing boredom and the massive uphill leveling climb.

  22. Gnomeaggedon says:

    In hindsight (as opposed to a couple of months ago) I am glad I am not in beta, and I am glad I wont be around for the release.

    When i get back from Overseas, all my mates will be 80 or close to it.

    I will have the leisure to do the quests at my own pace, see the sites and enjoy the ride.

    If I was in Beta (which I don’t have time for anyway), I would be building up those speed leveling plans.. because I wouldn’t want to repeat the process.. so I would miss out twice.

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