Yesterday I spoke about an idea we had of trying to level lock and run dungeons “legitimately” and as a result slowly work our way through the content as a trio. I personally went with a Brewmaster Monk, a class I have never really devoted much time to playing. Grace similarly fell into a familiar role of healing, rolling a Mistweaver Monk. That left Mor with rolling an Assassination Rogue to be our damage dealer. We went into this experiment quite honestly expecting to largely face roll Ragefire Chasm. What happened instead was absolutely not anything even vaguely close to facerolling. From the first pull we knew we were in for some work, given that firstly… we were in an assemblage of whatever gear we happened to scrape together making our way to 15. Secondly we were going in as a trio instead of a full five player group. All in all given how much we underestimated the content… I feel largely okay about the evening. We struggled our way through the dungeon, boss after boss until we sat stalled at the final encounter. Lava Guard Gordoth has this ability called Seismic Slam, that deals damage to all players within 25 yards of the boss. There is no cast bar or from what I can tell any real way to mitigate this. The challenge simply put is the fact that this ability was a oneshot, and we could see no real way of avoiding it.
The problem here is that we are quickly realizing that the content is seemingly scaled for players in Heirlooms… and not necessarily gear that you happen to get organically. When I am in my full heirloom set of gear like pictured above I am sitting somewhere in the vicinity of 1600 health. When wearing completely legit questing gear… I am sitting somewhere around 500 health. Quite simply put we were running into a hard gear wall that we need to scale somehow. Because we are insane however… we are planning on attempting to throw a rope over the ramparts and scale that wall anyways. The first challenge is to decide what the actual firm guidelines are for this project. Right now we have a handful of rules written in a spreadsheet where we are attempting to keep track of the item levels for each dungeon. The rules to date look a little something like this.
- Level lock at the minimum level for each dungeon
- Use whatever means necessary during the in-between levels
- Must complete all dungeons at level before moving on
- No heirlooms in dungeons
- Must get to the dungeon naturally and zone in
- Attempt all raids even if we super fail
What we failed to address however is what exactly is fair game for gearing ourselves to be able to complete the content. There are a bunch of options that I see and they all sorta have their own pluses and minuses.
Continue Questing While Level Locked
This one is pretty straight forward. Stay level locked and just keep working on quests, with the thought process that eventually you would get good enough gear to be able to complete the content. The positive here is that it is entirely organic… at least in a fashion, the the negative is you are functionally making the next level grind a bit harder given that you will need to do more grinding and have fewer quests to rely on. That said we have already agreed that leveling between dungeon locks in heirlooms is completely fair game.
Another thing we need to identify is if we are willing to allow purchasing items from the Auction House. My gut feeling here is no, especially given that we are currently in the twink PVP bracket and some of the decent options are going for as much as 300,000 gold. It always just feels wrong to buy our way to success in the dungeons.
Another option is to simply run our alts through the dungeon and farm up a bunch of greens then trade them around. If I remember correctly Deadmines drops greens like candy and they should in theory be in the appropriate level range. I am mostly torn on this one because this is my gut reaction on how to solve a gearing problem… just throw a bunch of greens at it. However this also maybe tarnishes the legitimacy of the runs. Similarly we could simply take turns running each others characters through a zone… but that actually feels significantly worse to me given that you are able to pick up boss loot as well as an assortment of random greens that could have dropped anywhere in that level range.
Grace and I actually tested this one out and in the grand scheme of things this seems like a reasonable option to get an assortment of greens. The one match we played we both got really nice at level cap greens that were sizable upgrades over our questing look. The negative is that for Grace at least it did not seem to respect her loot spec choice and she continued to get agility gear instead of intellect gear. Additionally as stated this is the twink bracket which means it isn’t exactly the fairest fights in the world. However wearing heirlooms seemed to put us on a fairly even footing with the twinklords.
The potentially best option is to get a bunch of gear crafted that the characters can wear and start with that as a baseline. The challenge and frustration here is that Blizzard is generally lousy at crafted gear. It is nearly impossible to create a full set of gear at any given level, so you still wind up wearing a mishmash of items level 5 to 15 in order to finish enough pieces to get a reasonable set of anything.
Random Dungeon Bags
We have all but agreed this one is out of the picture because the gear that comes from the random bags you get at the end of dungeon finder dungeons… is scaled pretty similar to heirlooms. That means we will once again gear way past what our ultimately target goal is. We are looking to make the dungeons a challenge, but somehow find a happy medium where they are also not impossible like Ragefire appeared to be tonight. We’ve just reached the point where we need to hash out these ideas and potentially come up with others, and lay down some additional ground rules on how we want to gear these characters. Best to decide it now because we are going to have a lot of gearing in our future. The awesome thing about this however is that it is making us appreciate greens that we have been thoughtlessly vendoring for years.