Two weeks ago, Blizzard Entertainment made live the pre-order for Warlords of Draenor, the fifth expansion for World of Warcraft. Though the expansion isn’t likely to be out until later this year (there’s not even a public beta yet), anyone who pre-orders the expansion can boost one of their characters to level 90, the current maximum level. Moreover, this boost is available as soon as you pre-order, so you can boost a character now and not wait until the expansion is released.
Right now I have three level 90 characters. There’s my paladin, which has been my main character since I started playing in 2006, although nowadays I don’t tend to play it much. There’s my shadow priest, which is the character that I play the most and which has the best gear. And I’ve recently levelled a worgen rogue.
Any character can be boosted, whether it’s a level one or level 89 character. However, considering the time it takes to level a character, I decided that it would be best to boost one at a low level. I have a level 81 hunter, a level 80 druid and a level 80 death knight, but some determined gaming over a couple of weeks could get these to level 90 so I decided not to boost these. They’re also on a different server to the one I normally play on and so it would cost money to transfer them.
The next lowest character I have is a level 56 rogue, but as I already have a rogue at level 90, again, I didn’t see the point.
So, instead, I created a new character – a pandaren monk, shown in the screenshot. I’ve played through most of the content (barring the raids) of the current expansion, Mists of Pandaria, but not on a pandaren character. So I hadn’t experienced the pandaren starting zone on the Wandering Isle – which is located on the back of a large turtle and protected by four ‘elements’ and is not inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series honest.
Therefore I decided to create a pandaren character, play through the starting zone, and then boost it to level 90. The starting zone is good – there’s a strong storyline and you get to interact with some memorable characters. However, there were more of the run-of-the-mill ‘kill x animals’ than I expected, which is a bit of a shame as I was hoping Blizzard would move away from having so many of these types of quests.
Once I’d completed the Wandering Isle and chosen a faction – Alliance, to match my other characters – I did the quests to join my faction and then logged out. I could then select the bright yellow boost icon, and follow the simple instructions to boost my character. You can actually change the specification at this point as well. The game equips your character with some level-appropriate gear, and then when you next log in you appear at your faction’s base in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria. You also get some reasonably big bags for your inventory, but unless you boost a high level character your professions remain at whatever level they were before.
I haven’t yet had much chance to play my new level 90 character, and will need to learn how to play it as the skills available at level 12 (pre-boost) and level 90 vary greatly. WoW Insider has a good guide for what to do with a newly-boosted character so I’ll be following that. I’ll need to get my gear gemmed and enchanted, and possibly reforged – although the gear you get should be appropriate for the specialism you have chosen, it won’t be hit or expertise-capped.
Additional level 90 boosts are available for those who don’t want to level characters manually, but at a cost of £40 per character (which is more than the £35 cost of the next expansion). Some will see this is as worth-it, to avoid the levelling experience. And in the next expansion, newly-boosted characters will go through a tutorial to get players used to their abilities, which will be a big help. Whilst I’m happy to have made use of the free boost, I don’t think I’ll use it again for any of my other characters.