Hey everyone the time has come for my first ToS leveling journal. Early Access has been exceptional and just now we're entering the first period of downtime, so way to go Funcom on that! :)
Alright anyways, I'll break this up into a few different parts that were relative to my leveling experiences.
Levels gained this session: 1-31
Feat spec used: Click To View - A Primarily Thunder Build
1-20: Group of 5 (ToS x2, HoX x1, Bear Shammy x1, Conq. x1)
20-25: Group of 2 (Conq. + Myself)
1-20: As you can see I made sure to try different sized groups to see how I contributed on my character with my mainly Thunder specialization. In the 5 man group I focussed on keeping my HoT's up, mainly using 'Life of Set', and throwing in my "Lightning Strike" nuke whenever our enemies were clumped up and thus would eat the AoE. As I began to spec into "Lightning Crown" I was sure to pick up the feat that enabled my group to have a similar pulsing AoE to my own on each member. This was when the Thunder spec really started to support the large group gameplay, with an AoE field on each group member, area of effect pulls in general became much cleaner and more efficient. I mainly used lightning strike for damage here, suplemented by Charged Blast when off cooldown. Storm crown seems really beneficial but I didn't get the hang of keeping it applied until the mid 20's, since you have to apply it every 30 seconds it can easily expire unnoticed.
20-25: During these levels I duo'ed with a conqueror from my guild mainly questing in the Khopshev Province of Stygia. This zone provides an abundance of quests for all levels 20-30ish but seems to do a better job than the other two in providing fast XP in the LOW twenties.
Duo'ing seemed much more efficient in straight up grinding out levels not only duo to the straight XP ratios but also to the fact that you lose time when coordinating the quests and locations of everyone in a 5 to 6 man group, not to mention collection quests are atrocious with a big group. I would heal my conq., Hurx, and let him get aggro on a large camp of mobs before running in, applying storm crown, and beginning to cast Lightning Strike. This method was very effective for kill quests and we were able to tear through any quest we had short of a couple red "Group" tagged quests. In these levels I was maxing out my feats that improved lightning crown and this shot my damage WAY up improving my AoE capabilities quite a bit.
25-31: At this point I broke off in the wee hours of morning for a power nap and awoke to find my leveling partner offline. Now it was time for the real test, to see how I could fair on my own. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that my level rates went insane as a soloing Tempest of Set. I leveled in a progression of zones for these levels as follows: Conal's Valley > Khopshev Province > Wild Lands of Zelata (started the Wilds right before servers went down).
When questing in these zones I noticed that most quests had a good deal of walking distance between their givers and their objectives, so here is the MOST IMPORTANT piece of leveling advice I can give so far: Kill everything. What I mean to say is, don't just walk from place to place, stray from the roads and use your amazing AoE powers to take a few mobs at a time, zig-zag back and forth over the path and kill anything within a few levels of you. The difference is HUGE, it all adds up and it's worth your time to take a little longer to get to a questing area if it means you gain a few thousand XP along the way.
Anyways, during this time your spec really begins to mature, as your storm crown becomes more potent and you begin to invest into Idol of set. Oh and a note on Idol of Set, whether intended or not, you can summon unlimited Idols right now and it seems a little overpowered as you can solo some pretty rough pulls with an army of totems :P Also when you hit 30, you gain STORM FIELD and your troubled days are over, storm field constantly pulses aoe damage around you, at this point you are an AoE machine and I expect to fly through 31-40. At this point you'll have Storm Crown, Storm Field and your Idol(s) of Set all pulsing lightning damage out around you... At this point leveling becomes a blast as you blow through large camps for kills quests and find yourself pulling ahead of many other classes in XP/hour. Just remember to keep those HoT's up and use your CC if needed (Quicksand the AoE root and Cobra Stare the 5 second stun have saved my butt more times than I can count).
Notes on PVP for this entry: Even when minding your own business (wink wink) PvP on a PvP server is ever present. After 45 pvp encounters thus far (30 kills to 15 deaths) I think the most important thing to do is to not rush yourself. When you are about to engage someone you should be fully HoT'ed and rather than straight up nuking, begin setting up camp. Apply storm crown, place your Idol of Set and apply storm field, the pulsing AoE damage is far superior to straight up nuking in pvp because if you aren't actively casting a spell, you are free to heal, melee, quickly CC etc. whereas if you were in the middle of lightning strike you would have to cancel it and begin casting another spell to switch gears. So in review, HoT up get your pulsing AoE's up and get in their face, make sure you use your weapon too in between casts, it helps!
That's all for today everyone,
P.S. I'll be getting some fun screenshots up for you guys that highlight some points made in this post as soon as the servers are back up, so keep checking back in as the day goes on! :) Also I'd love to hear what people think of the write up or site in general, either leave a comment on this post or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or even contact me via my youtube channel with any questions or comments.