Ding: Realm First! Level 85 Rogue
For those of you who have not been following my escapades on
, a few months back I personally decided I was going to attempt the "impossible" and obtain
. Since I actually managed to achieve this amazing feat two weeks ago, I've had quite a few people ask how I did it and what was going through my head in the process. So here I am, fully rested after several days of recovering from little to no sleep during the launch.
First off I want to put a disclaimer here, doing a Realm First is not for the faint of the heart. It took a lot of hard-work, dedication, and the help of some awesome guildies. To name a few of the people who really helped out and encouraged me during the attempt:
and the rest of my
buddies. I couldn't have done it without you!
But now let's get back to how it actually worked. Originally when I first started planning, I decided to be sneaky and give myself a little "edge"—I used an early version of our very own
tool to find out what quests I hadn't completed yet. Before long I came up with a large list of quests, and went out and completed particular ones in order to get the list of 25 I wanted. After tweaking the log many times I finally came down to the final 25, and with these I took the list of quests and made a map of all the locations. I ended up mapping my entire route of the quest turn-ins—I even had several guild-mates who volunteered to summon me throughout Northrend to complete the trek quickly. The entire log and travel time for all the quests was close to 50% experience, and I was able to turn them in as a practice run on the beta in about 8 minutes. This naturally gave me an edge against the competition.
While I was preparing this quest log, I was also leveling through the beta realms, testing the new content and figuring out what the fastest way to 85 was. I honestly didn't level all the way to 85 at any point, but I knew if I could just find the best of the two starter zones and get ahead of the pack I would have no trouble getting this done. After two run-throughs of both
I finally settled on one—
. Vashj'ir was a bit slow to start off and had a lot of gimmicky quests—plus the travel time between quests is a lot longer than any other zone, even when you do have an
. Mount Hyjal slowed down towards the end, but with the boost from my quests at the start I would be able to power through it quickly and head to
as soon as I hit level 82.
Now with everything prepared in-game, December 6th finally came, and I decided I'd have to severely mess with my sleep schedule several days before—which I tried to do to no-avail. A few hours of sleep prior to the launch helped, but sadly (or fortunately) I was one of those crazy people who decided they must have a Collector's Edition. Since I live on the East Coast this was perfectly acceptable for me to pick up instead of doing the Digital Download, so I spent 2 hours outside in the "freezing cold" (I live in Florida so it's not really *that cold*) socializing with my fellow geeks in line for the pickup.
One of the things people have asked me since all this had happened is what I ate during this extended gaming session. Well, I spent the hours prior to picking up the game shopping at a local mega-store, since I knew I couldn't really afford to cook any real meals while leveling. I decided on pre-made stuff (no, I didn't get hot pockets or anything microwavable). After pondering what would be "easiest" for me eat/prepare, I decided on a foot-long sub, some chips, chocolate covered pretzels (sugar to keep me awake!), a jar of dry roasted peanuts, a 12 pack of Mountain Dew: Code Red, and two fruit-punch Gatorades for a change of pace. All this I packed in a cooler full of ice and I was ready to go.
Finally came the hour prior to launch here in the US. I was all set up, my desk space cleared, and everything and everyone where they needed to be. The hour went by at an alarming speed, and finally it was 3:00am and no one in my guild in-game had seen the server message saying Cataclysm was enabled yet. 3:05 came and went... 3:10.... 3:15... finally the message appears! I attempt to login as fast as possible—I had taken off my authenticator on my account just for that day (totally insecure, I don't suggest it!) and I was stuck on connecting. It wasn't until around 3:30am that I was able to login. Yay, happy-face, I turn in the first quest in my chain and I look at my xp bar and it doesn't move. I'm like ok, maybe it's just a bug—let's try the the second one... no xp!
All my hard-work wasted, I decide to drop all the quests and hearth to Stormwind and
to the flight trainer and get my
. I found out later it was a bug that caused me to gain no xp and killing a mob would have fixed it. =/
So next I grabbed
and booked it through all the quests. 81 came rather quickly about half-way through Hyjal, and 82 literally at the very end. During all of Hyjal I was plagued with constant disconnects from my internet, which
hadn't been happening all day prior and completely stopped around 9AM (I'm looking at you other Central Florida gamers!). As soon as I had hit level 82 it was about 7 or 8AM, I hearthed to Stormwind and took a very short break.
I came back and noticed that none of the other rogues were 82 yet—I had a second account logged in this entire time to check the opposite faction. So I grabbed Deepholm's intro quest and went into the Maelstrom! Going through Deepholm was an awesome experience, especially since I didn't get to do it on beta. I had no trouble here except one really strange computer crash that occurred while riding the Skybreaker above the zone. I turned down my video settings to minimum and continued questing once I was back in.
Level 83 eventually came around 1PM. I went back to Stormwind and checked for Rogues once again, and now I know I'm still ahead. Uldum comes and goes, no real issues here except there are *way* too many cut-scenes. They all seem unskippable too—I vaguely remember canceling one and being thrown back to before it began, but maybe that's just lack of sleep talking. Towards the end was where it got tough—I was going on my second day with little sleep. A few splashes of cold water and some caffeine was all that was keeping me awake. I hit 84 around 5 or 6PM, once again going back to Stormwind and took another quick break.
Time for Twilight Highlands! After some intro quests that made me run around Stormwind for a bit I took the plane all the way out there and built the portal so I could come and go as I please. Leveling out here was rather fun actually, some highlights I vaguely remember (as everything was a blur by this point) were things like
. At about 65% I decided to check for rogues again, and scarily I find out there was another 84 rogue! At this point I kinda freak out—I wonder if he somehow got ahead of me? Is he close? I chance it and talk to him while flying between points and he says he's only at 50%. Now he could have screwed with me and said he was ahead, or even closer, but it seems he decided not to.
So I decided to go into the final push and not leave until I finish. By now I'm *really* tired, so I wanted to be done with it and sleep my victory away. I'm running out of quests and I'm at 95%. I tell myself just a couple more quests, come on, I can find some! I finally find a few that took me up near
in south-western Twilight Highlands. I'm up there and there are these
s, which just happen to be paladins (*growls*) and they can chain cast
. Now with me being sleep-deprived you can probably see how this didn't end up going over too well. They killed me about 3 times before I gave up on these quests. I decide instead that I'm going to find something relatively easy to kill for xp and and grind it out. I find
s, fairly easy and quick to kill—as my mind is racing and hoping against all hope that I make it.
It was 10:02PM on the 7th, the total time was 18 hours and 32 minutes. You can see the chat log of when I hit 85
. While leveling I had seen the
come and go, and I was the 8th person to hit 85 according to
on my realm. With the taste of sweet victory in my mouth I finally went to bed and slept the next few days away, with some light gearing and dungeon crawling spread about in-between.
I'd be happy to field any questions you may have about my attempt, and answer them the best I can—so feel free to ask away!
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