5-Boxing World of Warcraft

My quest to level 5 World of Warcraft characters at the same time.

2007-04-04

Level 70

Wow, I have been neglecting this blog for a while it seems. First news, I'm now level 70 and taking a break from 5-boxing to do some PvP. Eventually I will go back and 2-box my warlock (with Paladin heal-bot) from 30-60 and then 5-box the remaining classes from 60-70 but that probably won't be for some time.

After Ramparts I moved on to Hellfire Blood Furnace which went surprisingly smooth. After Blood Furnace I went to Coilfang Slave Pens where I started to run into trouble. While I have to give a kudos to Blizzard for making instances more then just tank'n'spank, they don't do well for a 5-boxer. :/ After Slave Pens I went on to Underbog which posed even more trouble with fears, AoEs, etc. Around that time I decided to try and clear out a few zones worth of quests, including collections, which didn't go too bad but the xp/minute was still fairly low overall. At around level 67 I went into Mana Tombs, after capping the Terrokar towers, and farmed Spirit Shards from the first boss up to level 70. I ended with the PvP Helmet, the PvP Meta Gem in it and the Epic PvP ring.

Now that I'm 70 I'm not really 5-boxing anymore since my only goal with 5-boxing was to get 5 classes to 70. It took me under 18 days played to do 1-70 5-box which I'm happy with since it likely would have taken 50-100 days played to get 5 level 70s one at a time.

As mentioned earlier, I think I will use my level 70 Paladin to follow my level 30 warlock around until he hits 70. Once there I will likely level on rest XP alone my other 5 characters, most likely just farming trash from Outland instances or doing quests that yield good rewards.

2007-03-13

Questing

After leveling from 60-62.5 in Hellfire Ramparts I can say that I am completely burnt out of that instance. I never was able to kill the last boss but I have come to the acceptance that Outland instances are not designed for a 5-boxer and there will be some encounters that are simply too challenging for me to beat at the appropriate level. For a regular group the fight wouldn't be nearly so hard but with my setup I can't effectively avoid fire spits and his front cone AoE attack.

At 62.5 I decided I couldn't take anymore Hellfire Ramparts so I decided to go questing. I ran over to Zangarmarsh and started doing every non-collection quest available. Doing that, I was able to bring in the rest of level 62 and hit 63 plus some. Hellfire Peninsula had a lot of collection quests but luckily Zangarmarsh has very few which is very nice for 5-boxing. I think I'm going to finish up all non-collection quests in Zangarmarsh and then head off to Hellfire Blood Furnace until level 64 at which point I will hit Coilfang Slave Pens.

One of the nice things about Burning Crusade is that there is a new instance at every level and the creatures in the instances are within 3 levels of each other. I have found that I level the fastest when I'm at the top end of the level range for an instance so now that I'm 63 I get a new instance every level which should help keep things interesting and keep the amount of disenchanted loot to a minimum. (http://www.wowwiki.com/Instances_by_Level)

I will probably take a break from instance grinding to do all the non-collection quests in each zone as well but due to running around with 5 grouped characters, I don't expect to be able to level off of non-collection quests alone. Instances are also better xp/minute though they can become quite repetitive.

On the macro/control front I respecced my Paladin to Protection/Retribution and my shaman to Restoration/Enhancement. I was finding that with my Paladin being the leader I needed someone else to be healer because anytime I was healing meant that was time I couldn't also be moving all my characters around. Now the shaman is the healer and when in-combat his follow-macro doesn't work. This means that my shaman will follow me into battle and start swinging but I can move the other 4 characters around freely without interrupting his heals. I do have an in-combat follow macro bound elsewhere so I can move him back into the fight where necessary but for the most part he stands still and heals/swings wherever he lands. With this new setup I am killing slower (only 2 real damage dealing classes) but I have found that my overall efficiency has gone up because I wipe less now and I can handle more pulls with less setup then I could before.

2007-03-01

Hellfire Ramparts

Outland instances are great. 710xp per kill in there while in a group of 5 which means once I get the instance down to the point of chain-pulling the whole thing (still learning the pulls at the moment) I'll be able to easily pull in 1500-2000 xp/minute, compared to the 500xp/minute I was struggling to maintain in mainland (for comparison, my priest/hunter solo leveled would pull in about 1000xp/minute grinding to 60 pre-BC).

In regards to Ramparts trash, there are a few groups that are very tricky to pull due to patrols plus spellcasters but I am able to use line of sight to get them where I want. I have to take a number of short "breaks" during the instance in order to wait for a patrol to show up or leave but for the most part it can be chain-pulled front to back.

The first two bosses in Hellfire Ramparts are pretty easy (orc and demon), the orc I can chain-pull right through now if my blessings are up and the demon I can kill reliably as long as I go in full health/mana. The drake + orc at the end is another story though and I have yet to even get to phase two.

The main problem is that all my characters are melee which means when he drops a fireball they all get hit. This in turn means I have to drag my characters out and then reposition them so they are facing the orc again. Once that is done I can usually get one heal off before another fireball hits everyone. In the end I just can't keep up on the healing, not because of mana or DPS but because I spend too much time running around dodging fireballs.

The next time I clear to him I think I am going to try putting all my characters except the Paladin into melee with the orc and then run away from the group with my Paladin. If all goes well my Paladin heals should keep me as the only one on the dragon threat list so I only have to move him around and heal the rest of the group. When the drake lands the Paladin should have aggro and he can stay alive until the orc drops at which point I can commence phase 2. Once there we'll have to see how things go before I determine how I will handle it.

Level: 60.5

2007-02-26

Outland

I apologize for the lack of updates lately, I haven't been playing much due to getting a little burnt out of WoW. I continued to do BRD up to level 56 when I finally went to Dire Maul. BRD has too many patrols. While you can pull them out it really slows down a lot having to stop and wait for patrols. Because of this I would always pull and just try to deal with the adds mid-fight but that would often end in a run back from the graveyard.

Dire Maul East, while better, still had patrol problems and unfortunately the instance is full of non-elite low-experience creeps which aren't a challenge at all and serve no purpose other then to slow you down. I was able to kill every boss in Dire Maul East except for Hydrospawn, mainly because he requires a good bit of positioning and movement so I can't just melee him down. :/

At 57 I got a warlock to summon me to Outland and things finally turned around. Grinding outdoor non-elites until 58 I was able to pull in my xp/minute then in Dire Maul. Once I hit 58 I started questing which was a nice change of pace from the grind and I have started to get my characters nicely geared up in Outland greens. I plan on finishing up some of the Hellfire quest lines (mainly the ones that end with a group quest) and then hitting Hellfire Ramparts, likely at level 60.

Again, nothing new on the macro front really, things have gotten into a pretty regular routine now and I'm looking forward to getting into the winged instances of Outland.

2007-02-07

Level 54

2 weeks vacation = 50 levels.
1 week back at work = 4 levels.

As expected, working has severely impacted my leveling speed though I am still chugging away towards level 70. I managed to get Sunken Temple down and deal with the Hex spell. What I would do is have my warrior charge in and demoralizing shout spam to tank everything until all of the hexing creeps in the group were dead. If all goes well I can usually at least get the last one targeted before the warrior needs a heal at which point the Paladin is no longer a target for getting hexxed (Paladin is lowest threat against the primary target most of the time). Once that heal went off on the warrior the Paladin would usually pull aggro and proceed to tank everything but the main target for the rest of the fight.

One thing that annoys me about Sunken Temple, and almost every pre-BC instance, is the fact that the level range of creeps is so vast and often you have to kill the low level creeps to get to the boss. Take Sunken Temple for example. In order to fight four of the bosses you first have to clear the top floor and kill the trolls holding the shield. The mini-bosses are level 52 which isn't too bad but the trolls around them are as low as level 48. Meanwhile, down in the mid floor the creeps around the last boss are as high as level 52 and the final boss is level 55! So if I go in at say, level 53, appropriate for killing the final boss I have to wade through creeps 5 levels below me just to lower the shield then wade through creeps 2-3 levels below me to actually get the last boss opened up. Only towards the end of the instance do you start getting good experience/loot for a level 53. :(

I did try BRD out and while I had a bit of trouble it was mainly due to me not being patient. I would constantly let runners get away (too lazy to judge justice on everyone because it eats my mana which means downtime) and I would routinely pull when I knew that there was a patrol nearby that would likely add. I just hate waiting around for a pull just to get a patrol first. In the end it would have been smarter to do that as I wouldn't have died so much but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I ended up killing the first couple bosses (level 51/52) several times until they no longer dropped anything good for my characters and then I went back to Sunken Temple as the experience per hour was better there. Now that I'm 54 a lot more of the instance will be opened up to me (many bosses are 56) and the pulls should be simplified now to the point where an add group won't be so much trouble.

On the macro front I don't have anything new really, just more of the same style macros I have been using all along. I am getting much better at positioning and whatnot which is nice as I'm able to handle some bosses that I can't just charge and spam.

2007-01-31

Level 50 and back to work.

My 2 week Burning Crusade launch vacation is now over and I go back to work in... 4 hours so my leveling will likely slow down a lot. :D

I did manage to pull off level 50 before my vacation ended however and I cleared all of Sunken Temple except Eranikus (level 55). I would like to take a moment and comment on how much I hate Maraudon. First off, the instance is *incredibly* difficult without ranged or AoE damage. Specificly, those slow moving slimes that do massive AoE damage to anything in melee range and the huge packs of non-elite larva and snakes. While I was able to do the larva and the snakes just fine those slimes would usually wipe me unless I carefully kited them for 5 minutes shooting with bows/guns/lightning/wrath. Unfortunately none of my characters are geared/specced for ranged damage so it took me forever to drop enough of them to get past. To make matters worse though, you can't farm Maraudon from the portal. If you zone-in via the portal there is no way to get out of the instance except A) dying and running back to a different entrance or B) clearing all the way back to one of the other entrances. Yesterday I went back to Maraudon to finish the Princess quest and spent about 30 minutes clearing up to and including her and then I spent an hour running out of the instance clearing trash far below my level and getting loot that was already outdated and very little experience. By the end I was so pissed off at the instance I finally just got myself killed and spirit resurrected.

Sunken Temple is far better in my opinion. The one problem I ran into in Sunken Temple is the hex spell. My Paladin is usually off-tanking all but the primary creep so he is usually the target of any hexes that go off. Unfortunately he is also the only class that can dispel the hex. On top of that, all my other characters movement is based on his movement so when he gets hexed the other characters finish what they were doing and more or less stand around. To make matters even *worse*, when you get hexed target of target stops working for those around you so my other characters can't even pull a target off him. This means I have to manually control each character which is about 5x less efficient as controlling them all from the main computer, especially since I have most of their movement keys unbound (have to move with the mouse exclusively). Asside from that though the instance overall was pretty easy. I had to do a little bit of cheese to kill the green dragons when they conned red to me that involved tanking in a corner to avoid knockback but in the end I dropped them without too much trouble. I also had a little trouble with the charm that the Prophet does because he would take over my Paladin and, like the hex, that really impacts me heavily (more so then a normal group).

Next up is Blackrock Depths, the first few bosses in there are only level 51, which should go over quite smoothly since it's a fairly open instance (easy to get into/out of for quick resets).

2007-01-28

Level 47

After Scarlet Monastery Cathedral I moved on to Zul'Farrak where I just cleared up to the graveyard and witch doctor (skipping the overseer) and reset. I repeated this several times to get to level 43 where I did the stairway event for the first time which was a lot of fun. At about level 44 I was able to kill the last boss, whatever his name is, after the stairway event and with a little luck I could kill the overseer. At 45 I was able to reliably kill all the bosses in Zul'Farrak and clearing to the final boss took about an hour.

A couple of notes about these last few levels. One, I got 3 epics, each at a 0.25% chance per ZF run. :D
Jang'thraze the Protector + Sang'thraze the Deflector = Sul'thraze the Lasher

I got 3 of each half putting a pair on my warrior, my paladin and my rogue. Unfortunately the rogue already has a better main-hand so it's just for show, especially since he can't use the two-handed epic. The warrior currently dual wields them since I can't equip the epic until level 50 and the paladin has converted it to an epic since he has a better main-hand already.

Another neat item in Zul'Farrak is The Hand of Antu'sul, a little newbie version of Thunderfury. :D It has an almost identical proc as Thunderfury, just less of a slowing effect and lower damage. I have two of them, one on my rogue and one on my Paladin and between the two of them it procs fairly often.

After farming Zul'Farrak until I got all the loot I wanted (a second set of Big Bad Pauldrons was the final item) I went back to Uldaman. I only cleared Uldaman once, mainly so I could say I did it but unfortunately the instance isn't any higher level then Zul'Farrak and the drops were none too impressive. :( I have now moved on to Maraudon and will be making my first attempts at it today. I have gone through the loot from the instance along with the levels of the creatures in there and it looks like I will be doing Maraudon for some time yet. The final boss is level 51 and there isn't much in the way of instances after that until Sunken Temple so my guess is I'll be doing it until about 50/51.