I’ve been back in World of Warcraft for a few weeks now, but for some reason I’m just not feeling my high-level characters. I can’t get the hang of being a priest again, and I don’t actually play my death knight any more (and wasn’t much good when I did play), so I’ve been looking for other things to do while I get the hang of the game again.
At a friend’s suggestion, nearly all of my alts have Herbalism and Skinning as their primary professions, on the theory that if I’m just leveling, there’s no real point in spending time leveling a production profession when I could be making money with the herbs and skins that I run across. So when I started leveling my rogue, true to form, I picked Herbalism and Skinning, planning to mail the materials I gathered to a bank alt each time I headed back to town.
But I noticed something odd when I started gathering herbs – I was getting experience for gathering! I’m sure this was in a patch note that I missed, but I was particularly started to discover it. The fact that I could get XP from herbs (and mining, I assumed, but apparently not skinning) really stuck in my head, and between that and the fact that I play mostly on an RP server, therein was born a project.
Nashoda is a night elf druid and, in-character, a pacifist. She has struck a creature only once (I wasn’t paying enough attention and a boar walked in front of the herb I was trying to collect). She has no kills to her name, and no quests completed. (Well, one quest: I have the Wrath collector’s edition, and picking up the Frosty pet from that has a quest associated with it for some reason.) Instead, she has Herbalism and Mining, and she’s leveled exclusively through gathering professions and exploration.
And as of about an hour ago, she’s level 20.
I chose a night elf druid both for the roleplaying aspects – it’s easier for me to envision a pacifist druid than any other class – and for the gameplay aspects. As a druid, I have access to healing spells (for when creatures attack me while I’m traveling or gathering), travel form, and – in cat form – the ability to stealth; as a night elf, I have an increased chance to dodge and Shadowmeld, which now drops combat if I’m not in a group, and both of those are excellent for dealing with creature attacks. Herbalism gives me Lifebloom, adding to my healing repertoire, and Mining gives me Toughness, another defense mechanism. Nashoda has trained no offensive abilities (except Wrath, which all druids start with) and carries a “walking staff” (for the Stamina/Intellect bonus).
I’ve spent most of my time in Elwynn Forest; Teldrassil doesn’t have any ore, and Elwynn is open enough that it’s easy to make circles around it. At very early levels, I stuck mostly to the mountains around the edges – there are fewer creatures there to avoid, and quite a few earthroot and copper nodes to level on – but as Nashoda’s grown, I’ve moved farther into the forest proper. Part of me feels like I ought to be moving on to other zones, but the way XP from gathering works, peacebloom, silverleaf, and copper ore still offer enough XP per gather, and Elwynn’s nodes are so dense, that it’s actually still more efficient for me to make my rounds around Elwynn Forest. (The extra XP from higher-level herbs and ore is outweighed by the fact that in the zones I can get to, there aren’t as many of them; my XP per hour is still higher from the lower-level herbs and ore.)
I’m not sure how long I’m going to continue playing Nashoda, but I’d like to see if I can make it to 85 without killing a single creature or completing a single quest. It’ll take a while – right now I’m averaging roughly a level every hour and a half, and if that keeps up I’ll have about five and a half days /played when I hit 85 – but I like the implications. (I may also go for the Explorer achievement, since I’ll be doing a lot of circles around a lot of zones…)
(And if anyone from Blizzard is reading, “the Pacifist” as a title would be a nice Christmas present. ;)
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments here, to find me on Twitter as @etherjammer, or to find me in-game as Nashoda of Moon Guard-A. :)
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