04 May 2011

The tan epidemic!

Find out what popular items in your bank could harm your alt's leveling experience, tonight at 11!

I don't like using heirlooms, and I am annoyed that they are such great point-sinks for capped toons. Furthermore, I regret the heirlooms I have already bought and can't think of reasons to purchase any more.


I leveled both my paladin and warlock wearing their respective shoulders and weapons. This was two years ago, when the old world was still old and leveling slightly less interesting. Even at the time, it felt pretty OP.

I transferred to Nagrand and rolled a priest and a rogue. The priest inherited the warlock's gear, now including a robe, and the rogue got PVP shoulders and chest. I recently bought PVP shoulders for my hunter and shaman.


Stop and smell the roses

Because of all the heirloom pieces (except for weapons) have an XP bonus, you can get a total of 40% bonus XP gain while leveling. I've talked about my experiences leveling recently, and I can assure you that even in nothing more than a loincloth and party hat you can outlevel your quest chain in no time. Add heirlooms to that mix and you'll be changing zones every 20 minutes, or trudging through grey quest chains.

At the moment, my problem with leveling too fast is that Azeroth recently got a very serious makeover. Quests everywhere were re-imagined and much improved. Things are new and exciting, and I relish my time on lowbie alts as a good way to see the world with fresh eyes. I'm not trying to rush to 85 because I'm more interested in finding out how my old favorite quests have been revamped, and what new ones have been added. I'm not ready to leave Azshara yet, but halfway through the 3 major quest chains and everything is green or grey! I don't need any help leveling at lightspeed because it's so easily done anyway. Manfriend even told me that he avoids logging out in inns now so he doesn't get any rested XP bonus, and he's avoided all heirlooms save the weapon. Even with that, he whispered me on his goblin, "How is it that Azshara has brought me all the way to level 23?"

Are we too OP?

I generally disagree with the elitists who gripe that WoW has become too casual-friendly because 1) allowing for more satisfying gameplay with less time required is a good thing and 2) many of the changes that require 85 mains benefit long-term players.

However, I do think that there is a point at which questing becomes so easy that it's not as fun. This is of course relative not only to different people's opinions, but also individual players' moods. At level 85, Aka has a lot of opportunities to overpower content. It's fun to tromp through Ulduar, remembering the screaming terror of heroic Mimiron at level. It's even more fun to blow through Kara or MC practically auto-following the rest of the group because everything dies before you can get a cast off. Also because you have important facebooking to do. Those things are fun because you know that those raids were a challenge - would still be a challenge if you were at level. Grinding rep, on the other hand, is not a challenge. Mass murdering pirates outside Ratchet would be time-consuming at level, but not challenging. Doing it at 85 is no great feat, comparatively; it merely takes less time. That sort of OP isn't satisfying or fun.

At level, however, I would like at least a little challenge. By level 20 I have a good assortment of spells, and I want to push all the buttons! At level 60 on my rogue, I can hit 3 spells and tab out, secure that the mob will die before I've taken any damage. On my level 20 mage, I can cast 2 spells, and if that doesn't kill the target, my Water Elemental Bubbles' next attack will. I don't want 5 minute fights, where an overpull means certain death, but I would like to use the rotation I have cobbled together!

On the catwalk

The last point may be less important for other people, but it is something I notice. If you wear heirlooms, your outfit never changes. There are some beautiful pieces of gear in the game! Or if not beautiful, at least hilariously terrible. Getting quest gear is a grab-bag of fun, because those pants you get might be barely-there leggings, or the robe an intricately-patterned dress. Changing gear is one of the very few opportunities you have to see your toon look a different way without paying for it.

Not only is changing gear better than being stuck with the same silhouette for 80 levels, but some of the heirlooms are terrible things to be stuck with! The skull caster shoulders and staff look wonderfully demonic on my warlock, but on a priest they are out of place. DKs don't look at home in gleaming silver and gold plate. The PVP leather shoulders are pointy and ugly (there, I said it).


The good news is that if you don't care about
  1. reading quests,
  2. following quest chains,
  3. playing dressup, or
  4. occasionally being challenged by mobs,
you will love blowing through content with a full set of heirlooms. If the only use of a character is for level 85 content (or farming lockboxes in lonely Burning Steppes), then heirlooms are the best choice for the job.


So what do you think? Do you use heirlooms? Why do you like or dislike them? How many do you have, and where do you store them when done leveling? Should I get over myself and deck all of my alts out in full heirlooms??


  1. I think the problem's larger than that. While heirlooms make the process faster (and frankly, when it comes to Outland and Northrend, bring 'em on), the leveling process has been utterly trivialized, period. My first toon, my hunter, took me six months to level from 1 to 80, and I rarely even stopped to level professions or anything like that. At the time he hit 80 my hunter had about 30 days of /played under his belt...my paladin, 4. Between the dungeon finder, the overpowered lowbie toons, heirlooms, guild XP bonuses, and the total redesign of leveling, the magic of leveling is gone. When I hit 80 on my hunter it felt like a huge accomplishment. I had spent months leveling my toon, learning how to play, and I had seen almost every zone. Now blasting through 1 to 60 is pretty much a weekend's work, suffering through Outland and Northrend is done as quickly as possible, and then before you know it you're 85. It's not an adventure or an accomplishment anymore, it's a temporary annoyance.

  2. I'm not in any hurry when I roll a new character to get to max level. I never have enough points to buy heirlooms, anyway. Well, I did, once. I popped that pair of heirloom shoulders on a seldom played warlock, hoping it would renew my interest in leveling her. It didn't, and I transferred her to hubby's account to make room for a new toon. It wasn't until after a month or more that I realized I had transferred her over with that silly pair of shoulders, and my BOA polar bear mount. I think I was more angry about that silly bear than the shoulders!

  3. I first used heirlooms last week.
    I don't think heirlooms are a problem. If you don't like them, don't wear them - it's not a competition. I have a level 72 paladin and a level 43 shaman, both levelled without heirlooms. I then had a load of hp left over and had just unlocked the helm and cloak heirlooms, so I bought a set for my shaman. Now I'm having fun being OP - where as before I had fun taking it slow and savouring zones. They're different types of fun and you may prefer one: if you do, do it your way. Heirlooms = optional, and that's all that I need to say (to satisfy my own mind at least).

  4. @Stormy: You know, I think you're right that the biggest problem is that the leveling experience itself has been completely trivialized. I just took my ire out on heirlooms because they make it so much worse (and also are so damn easy to acquire ><). I also acknowledge that once I hit Outland, I'll probably dust off the heirlooms and maybe even get my alts guilded to make it a little less tedious. Sadly, I don't consider leveling a temporary annoyance! I can hardly fathom raiding on any toon besides my main, so the leveling itself is what I look forward to!!

    @Shawndra: I totally understand being more annoyed about losing the bear! Just recently I was wondering where my Baby Blizzard Bear pets got to, since some of my alts don't have them :3

    @Fuzzy: I'm certainly not telling other people not to buy or use heirlooms. Like you said, if you want to level quickly and powerfully, heirlooms are the best choice. With the patch I have more things to spend my JP on, so now I can easily avoid being tempted to uncap myself by buying an heirloom or two!