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Monday, January 13, 2014

Making the Most of RAF

We've all heard the goldmaking advice that accompanies the end of every expansion: level your alts in time for the the next xpac. A lot of folks are doing just that. A couple weeks ago, Jim Younkin of The Power Word: Gold blog and podcast had a nice post on levelling up alts via RaF chock full of neat tips - some obvious, some I wouldn't have really thought of.

He wrote about one of the neatest features of using The RaF system on yourself: granting levels. Here's how it works: characters your recruited account can grant 1 level to characters on your main account for every 2 levels they earn. The twist: the characters must be on the same server, and you cannot grant levels above the level of the character doing the granting. Of course there's all that 90-days business so your RaF still needs to be active.

This sounds simple - and most folks love being able to level a couple toons on their RaF acct to 85 and then turn around and get another "free" level 85 alt by granting levels on their main account. But I want to show you how, with a few minutes of math and planning, you can save yourself hours of levelling.

Jim had a method of doing this that he called "Leap-Frogging".  What I'm going to do in this post is build on that idea in a slightly more complex way that turns out to be much more efficient.  But that's okay, right?  Because you're pretty savvy, and I'm pretty good at explaining stuff - and we ALL like to save time.  Before I go too far, though - I want to thank Jim for a great post that inspired me to finally write about this idea - it was something that I originally posted last year on the Consortium forums.

I call the method the reverse stairstep.  It is based entirely on the premise that as you level, each successive level takes more time to get through.  This makes sense - particularly in the aggregate - 1-20 takes less time than 20-40, which in turn takes less time than 40-60, and so on. When you combine this premise with the rules Jim so clearly outlined in his own post - that the RAF-ee can grant 1 level to the RAF-er for every 2 levels gained by the RAF-ee.  And, the toon granting the levels cannot grant levels above his own level.

Basically, we want to grant the harder levels.  For reference, Jim levelled 5 toons to 85 with his RAF partner, then another five to 43 with his RAF partner.  Then, he had his RAF partner grant 42 levels from each level 85 toon to each of his own level 43 toons to bring them to 85.   This gave Jim 10 level 85 toons, after levelling five toons to 85, and five more to 43.

With my reverse stairstep method, getting ten Level 85 toons looks like this (everything from this point forward presumes you are levelling with your RAF partner):



The idea is that we will, of course, need to level at least one toon to 85, but that toon's levels are best spent equally (inasmuch is possible) among the remaining 9 toons we'd like to level.  From there, we go about doing likewise for the remaining toons.  The division is not always clean and balanced, so at each step we try to even things out with regards to the total number of levels granted for the remaining toons.

There's no "magic" here - you still have to level toons to 16, 31, 42, 50, 58, 64, 70, 76, 81, and 85.  That's 573 levels.  Jim's method is 640 levels.  But if you're following me still - the point isn't so much the total number of levels you're left having to get through, but how easy it is to get through them.  Jim has you taking five toons all the way to 85.  I only have you taking one toon to 85 - and only three into Wrath of the Lich King content.  On the other hand, Jim has you only taking five toons beyond level 43.  I have you taking seven toons past level 43.

But in the end, I feel my way is quicker - so long as you accept the premise that each successive level takes longer to level through.  In the screenshot above is a spreadsheet that I am going to make available for you to play with here.  You can download it and open it in Excel or you can open it online in Google Sheets if you can save a copy for yourself.  If you're not planning on doing the full 10 toons to 85, you can always blank out the later toon slots and the method works just as well - just play around with it until you get a plan that you like.

Now - you could be wondering, "Dang Stede - that kinda smashes what Jim was saying - why would I bother with what he was saying?"  There's an answer to that.  The reverse stairstep requires you to pre-plan your RAF levelling plan and it requires you to STICK TO IT.  If you don't finish all the levelling, you won't be able to grant all the levels.  In fact, unless you fully complete your levelling plan, you won't get more than 1 level 85 toon - because my method requires you to finish ALL of your levelling before granting any levels.

Jim's Leap-Frog method is very modular.  You can level one toon to 85, and the next to 43 and grant the remaining  42 levels to give you two level 85 toons.  You can do this sort of tick-tock or Leap-Frog approach in pairs - so if you get sick of levelling after the third toon, you still have 3 level 85s.

But there it is, folks - updated for the new level 85 RAF cap and ready for you to tear into.  Best of luck to all you RAF'ers out there, and one last big thanks to Jim for inspiring the the post!

15 comments:

  1. Please fix the text colors. The inconsistent colors with this blog make it difficult to read and a strain on the eyes.

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    1. Done - will have to be on the lookout for that in the future.

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  2. Great expansion on the idea although I'm a bit fuzzy on the exact implementation. Perhaps the spreadsheet goes into more detail. Is the basic idea you grant levels to multiple toons capitalizing on the fact, for example, that the 85 can grant level 85 to multiple toons, etc? And just spread that across multiple tiers of levels?

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    1. Hey JIm! Thanks for the read and the question - yes, you've got the basic idea there. Another way of thinking about is that you want to maximize the levels your higher level toons grant. You do that by granting the highest levels possible to each toon by spreading them across all toons.

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  3. Great post. I'm doing RaF, going to put this to some use.

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  4. I suppose you can't grant full levels from a dk?

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    1. Nah, it's only the levels you earn that count towards the grantable levels.

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  5. A reader messaged me on Facebook and mentioned the possibility of using Death Knights as chars to be granted levels. Saves 58 levels. It's an interesting idea but…so many DKs. :D

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  6. This seems like an interesting way to go about it, although it would take some definite planning - and a good sense of understanding on the recruit's side, as they're getting left in the dust at 81, 76, 70, etc.

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    1. And that's a great point - the recruit would only have than one L85. That'd have to be something you sort out with your recruit. However, a lot of folks will RAF themselves and try their hand at multiboxing because it actually works out faster - and it's hard to pass on 3x levelling speed when a new license drops to just $5.

      I've done it myself and multiboxing can be a lot of fun :)

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  7. You can have 11 characters per realm, i.e. use RaF to get 11 x lvl 85 instead of 10 x lvl 85

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    1. Sure can! This method works with however many you'd like to level, though, be advised you cannot grant levels cross realm. I just used ten as an example :)

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  8. Great post! Sounds like the most efficient way to utilize those free levels. My question comes in how much real money would one have to spend to use this method? I've never used RAF, so it's still a bit fuzzy how it works. But it seems that you'd have to buy 9 additional wow licenses (so you'd have 10 total) and pay for 90 days of activity for each license. But once that's done, you'd still be left with 1 of each of these level 85 characters on each licence. I know Blizzard can transfer characters between licences as long as they are all on the same battle.net account. Is there a fee to then move them all to the main account?

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    1. Oh - it's just one license. If you picked it up on sale over the holidays, that's $15 for both 1-85 and 85-90. RAF is only active to L85, so really, a $5 battlechest gets you going. Then it's only active for 90 days, and the first 30 days are included with the battlechest. So call it $35, each.

      If you started with just 2 fresh accounts, that's $70 over 3 months. The second account would have a bunch of marooned toons littered about on the way to 85, but you'd have ten L85 toons without as much leveling.

      Alternatively, you can transfer toons between license that are on the same B.net account, but it's $25 a shot, iirc.

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  9. Sweet! Much better than I thought. So the TL:DR of it is:

    1) Send a RAF to yourself
    2) Accept it and buy a battlechest for $20 (current price)
    3) Buy two months of game time $30
    4) Level characters on both accounts to 16, 31, 42, 50, 58, 64, 70, 76, 81, and 85 - this can be done at the same time via multiboxing
    5) Use the levels earned from account #2 to grant levels to account #1 to finish off all characters on account #1 to 85.
    6) Account #2 is abandoned with characters at 16, 31, 42, 50, 58, 64, 70, 76, 81, and 85.

    With the recent announcement for my realm to be connected, it's definitely worth consideration. The big question is whether I can figure out how to multi-box and level that many characters in 3 months.

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