I don’t know about you, but whenever I set out to create another alternate character – even the occasional Sunday morning dalliance on the Horde side – I like to be as prepared as possible. I think because I don’t yet understand the class or how it plays, I try to give myself every possible advantage to reduce the amount of time spent running back to my body (maybe that’s why I gravitate toward Night Elves). I’ll sew up backpacks, purchase THE perfect non-combat pet to complete my character’s ensemble, and send a care package with 100 gold to get her started off on the right foot – or hoof, as the case may be.
This paradigm of preparedness can similarly be applied to your first journeys into Northrend. Here are a few steps that you can take now to help make the transition as smooth and fun as possible:
- Clean out your bank and inventory.
Bag space is always helpful while questing, so get rid of anything that you no longer need. (Eee! Not my Armani Boots of the Bandit! *clutches*) A few things you can safely toss include:
- Specialized mana/health potions. You aren’t going to need the Coilfang or Tempest Keep variants of healing or mana potions. Assuming you don’t need them for guild raids, you can safely dispose of them. The same is true of zone-specific flasks.
- Quest items. Get rid of these, either by completing their associated quests or abandoning them.
- Reputation items for factions with whom you are exalted. Sell these if you can since they will have little value once Wrath goes live.
- Certain off-spec items. If you’re a Restoration Druid, you can safely toss out any off-spec Balance gear that’s of a lesser tier than your primary Restoration set. You might want to save any items that have an abundance of spell crit or spell hit for evaluation after the change to spell power.
- Stock up.
On the other side of the fence, there are a number of items you should consider collecting before the expansion:
- Tradeskills. If you have any production tradeskills, stockpile the essential materials for the recipes that can still provide skillups past 375 before the prices go through the roof at release. Everyone can benefit from storing some Netherweave to make bandages, for instance, and using your surplus will allow you to save your Frostweave cloth for skillups (or selling for obscene profits) later on.
- Consumables. Consider stockpiling a few stacks of your favorite elixirs. These stack to 20, so 2-3 stacks is probably sufficient. Don’t forget to consider what type of fish you’ll want to bring with you to instances. Along these same lines, collect a few stacks of fish that will be useful to your primary leveling spec. If you’re planning to go Balance, good choices are [Golden Fish Sticks] or [Poached Bluefish] (both grant spell power).
- Item enchants. Collect a few of the cheaper item enchants (like armor kits) to use on items that would be upgrades over your existing gear if enchanted.
- Fish hooks. During my brief forays into the starting zones, I’ve discovered that – while not incapable of fishing without a lure – I don’t appear to be able to catch anything. Fishing also seems to be taking considerably more successful catches to improve your skill on beta than in live, so try to account for this and collect more lures than you might otherwise.
- A riding crop. Riding crops work as item-based enchants in the expansion. Right now, you must apply them to your mount before you memorize it or you won’t be able to apply it later. Since you won’t initially be able to use Flight Form in Northrend, you’ll want to save a Riding Crop to apply to your Frost Saber or Kodo.
- Purge your quest log.
Get rid of the dozen or so quests you have left from Blade’s Edge Mountains, Netherstorm, or Shadowmoon Valley. Even if these quests could potentially yield experience once the expansion goes live, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to spend any more time in Outland once Northrend is available.
- Buy a sturdy pair of boots and a warm coat.
It’s cold in Northrend. Consider a pair of [Ear Muffs of the Hierophant].
- Spend your Arena points.
These won’t carry over once you’ve reached level 71, so start planning how to spend them optimally and plan how many weeks you’ll need to play to acquire any items you still want.
- Create a checklist of addons.
Go through your addons directory and make a list of those addons you want to make sure to have up and running in Northrend. Separate them into "MUST HAVE OR I CANNOT PLAY" and "This make my life easier" categories. For those in the former category, scope out some alternatives in case your favorite isn’t up-to-date and available on day 1. Set aside a bookmark folder with links to the places you can download the latest versions.
- Research and complete achievements.
If you plan to participate in the Achievements system, there are many that you can complete before the system is made live. A good example of these are the exploration achievements which should be fairly simple to complete with Swift Flight Form. Obviously, this is a fairly "fluffy" step to prepare, so do the more constructive things listed above first.
- Plan your spec(s).
Although the upcoming 3.0 content patch will come with a free talent reset, you may want to use a different talent spec for leveling. You may also want to plan another talent spec for instancing (ex. if you plan to level Balance but suspect you’ll be healing in instances). Having both of these fleshed out will make accepting an instance invite but a Teleport: Moonglade and Summoning Stone summons away! You can plan your specs via WoWHead’s WotLK talent calculator.
- Winterize your mount.
Frost Sabers should be fine, but Kodos are indigenous to the plains and may have trouble.
- Reserve your Death Knight name.
If you’re planning to make a Death Knight, nab the name you want before the trillion other players create their Death Knights. Try to avoid choosing names like "Fluffykins" or "Squigglebottom" to avoid being smote by Arthas.
- Get Maps.
Install a map addon that allows you to toggle the fog of war (ex. Cartographer or Mappins). If you’re the type of player who likes to have something in your hand, you can print maps for the WotLK zones through Curse.com.
- Bind abilities.
Abilities like the once-again insta-cast Soothe Animal, while previously not useful in a raiding environment, will serve you well in Northrend. Consider how you’ll make it – and other abilities like it – accessible. Don’t forget to save a spot for Revive!
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