Periodically, I will select a World of Warcraft game myth or rumor to be put to the test (a la snopes.com). Its veracity will be determined through empirical, experimental, and/or historical research.
Each myth presented will ultimately be categorized as either: TRUE, POSSIBLE, FALSE, or INCONCLUSIVE depending on the results of the research. Myths deemed “POSSIBLE” will be qualified with the necessary conditions under which they could be TRUE. Anything undetermined by my research will be labeled “INCONCLUSIVE.” True things will be categorized as TRUE, and false things as FALSE.
Any questions? Good, let’s begin…
You can solo level a character from 1 to 70 in about a day /played (meaning: 24 hours logged into and playing the game).
If you have been following any of the recent news about gameplay in Warcraft, there has been some hefty competition as of late about the record for the quickest leveling of a character.
There are three records to be had:
- Fastest Time Leveling 1-60
- Fastest Time Leveling 60-70
- Fastest Time Leveling 1-70
Makes sense, right? Now, all three of these were supposedly broken in the past month.
The previous known record holders:
- 1-60: 4 days 20 hours by Joana (pre-2.3)
- 60-70: 23 hours 28 minutes by SilverDragon
- 1-70: 6 days 5 hours by Hexium
And the supposed current records held by Mineva:
- 1-60: 14 hours
- 60-70: 12 hours 31 minutes
- 1-70: 26 hours 31 minutes
So, here is how it went down, roughly:
On March 12th, a player with the web handle “Athene” claimed to level a druid (the supposed “hardest class in the game”) of the name “Tanialól” from 1 to 70 in 1 day, 19 hours, and 39 minutes (1d 2h 50m from 1 to 60, and 16h 49m from 60-70). Provided what he said was correct, all three records would have been broken, and significantly so.
^ Not proof of anything!
In the screenshot, the GM doesn’t actually confirm anything (neither the accuracy of his /played time nor his current level). For all we know, he is level 20 in the screenshot. The icons on his spell bar for higher level spells could have been placed there from the macro menu. Also, what druid gets aquatic form but doesn’t get flight form on the speed race to 70? Calling this suspicious would be quite the understatement.
The US cable TV station G4TV ran a short clip (click here for video) on Athene and his supposed record breaking run. They gave Athene’s real name, and report that he was a former house member of the reality television show Big Brother (in Belgium). They also explain that he has tried to run his “girlfriend” for political office with promises of oral “repayment” in return for votes. His website is called “Wrath of the 1337 King.” He has no problem likening himself to Jesus. His YouTube channel is filled with videos that have racy titles and cover images. And he runs a fake blog about a young, beautiful woman counting down the days until she commits suicide. This is clearly a fellow who craves large-scale attention. It should not come as a shock that the he might seek it through whatever means he can, regardless of how unscrupulous. But more about that in a moment…
He admitted to being boosted by other players to reach 70 so quickly (he had higher level players (not grouped with him) kill off mobs he tagged). This was a respectable coordinated effort between multiple players.
So, how did Mineva and Athene level so quickly?
The simplest explanation is usually the correct one: They didn’t. Apparently, they made use of an exploit that affects the /played time of characters (read about it here).
Shortly after Mineva hit 70 with the help of Athene, a player on Stormscale-EU’s unofficial forums (the server Athene and Mineva both play on) posted a picture showing how an instance-reset bug can affect the /played time of players.
^ 23,156 xp in 15 seconds? Clearly a bug!
I am not going to explain how the exploit works, as I am fairly sure Blizzard is aware of it (as posts concerning this topic or the “leveling records” of Mineva and Athene have been deleted from the official forums). A “friend” of Athene and Mineva confirmed that he often saw them zoning in and out of instances and that he helped summon them from one instance to another.
Knowledge of this exploit calls into question all records set during this time frame: Athene’s, Mineva’s, and even Tosog’s. How can we trust that there wasn’t a bug with their /played time? No actual evidence was ever provided showing their speed. Heck, in one of Athene’s videos he shows his druid hitting 60 by spamming wrath in caster/humanoid (not moonkin) form. How is THAT speed leveling?
^ I admit that I know little about druids, but it doesn’t take an
expert to know that there is something wrong with this picture.
This isn’t to say that the players didn’t level in a quick manner, just that the validity of their actual time is highly questionable. They may have been fairly fast, but far from record breaking. We’ll never know how quick they actually were.
The events of the past month have apparently started a bit of a speed-leveling craze. Players are posting “guides” on how one could level to 70 in under a day /played and in-game spammers are now also trying to sell the services of stats-hacking software to level quicker. “Level 1 to 70 in 1 day!” the spammers boast. Yeah, right. If you believe that, then I have a bridge I want to sell ya.
Testing the Myth:
Game exploits aside, would it be possible to level to 70 in a day /played … by yourself?
Let’s look at some data to compute how long it takes to gain a level.
The amount of experience needed to gain a level:
From the graph, you can see that the requisite xp skyrockets at 60. However, the xp needed does not reflect the time it takes.
Leveling speed depends on how quickly you can take down a mob, which partly depends on the total health of the mob and partly on your average DPS.
Note the separate lines for Azeroth mobs and Outlands mobs.
When killing a (non-elite) mob of equal level to yourself, the average xp gain is as follows:
[45 + level*5] xp
[235 + level*5] xp
However, those who have taken to competitive leveling, or who simply just like to grind out levels as fast as possible, know that there is a sweet spot in terms of xp gain and mob level. Simply put, if you want to grind out levels the fastest, you need to be soloing mobs that are “green” to you. Yes, they will award less xp, but will go down a lot quicker.
In general, for optimal xp gain, the level of mobs you kill at any given level should be equal to or lower than your current level according to this table:
|In Azeroth:||In Outlands:|
|n = your level|
Taking this into consideration, the amount of xp you get per mob kill at any given level looks like this:
^ Non-rested xp
Notable about the above graph is the giant leap between the xp gain from Azeroth mobs and the xp gain from Outland mobs. This is as expected (note the corresponding large leap in required xp for level gains post-60 in the “XP to Level” chart above). Small dips in the optimal xp on the above chart are due to changes in the levels of the mobs you are killing. For example, at level 19 you would be killing mobs 2 levels lower than yourself, but at 20 you would want to switch to killing mobs 3 levels lower to maintain optimal xp gain. You would gain less xp per mob, but they would be dying a lot quicker, resulting in an overall gain in xp over time (here is a really informative website on the subject, if you want more info).
In order for us to be able to look at what kind of DPS we would need to put out over time in order to reach 70 in 24 hours, we need to know about how much time we would be spending on each level:
This graph just shows percentages, but we can calculate values from the percents (for example: 6.97% percent of leveling time is just getting from 69 to 70, so if we were trying to go 1-70 in 24 hours, then 6.97% of 24 hours is 1.67 hours. It would take about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get from 69 to 70 at that rate). Also, notice the small spike in the upper 50s (due to the patch 2.3 changes) and the larger spike at 61 (it obviously takes significantly longer to gain a level post-60 than pre-60).
Assuming rested xp the whole way, that your leveling time distribution resembles the chart above, and that you are just grinding non-elite mobs, we can calculate the average continuous DPS that you would have to sustain across each level in order to go from 1-70 in 24 hours.
From the above information, we can easily figure for any given level how many mobs we would have to kill to level up.
From knowing the number of kills we need for each level, we can use the information about how much health mobs have on average to know how much total damage is needed. From there, all we have to do is divide that total damage by the allotted time spent per level to understand how much sustained DPS is needed.
Average DPS needed, by Level, to hit 70 in 1 day:
The graph of average DPS needed to make 1-70 possible in a day is a bit rough (note how the line jumps a bit at transitions). This means our assumptions may not yield precise results. However, when thinking about the data in the bigger picture we can see a definite trend.
Outliers aside, we can easily tell that the average DPS that we would have to put out at any given level largely exceeds what can be considered feasible in the realm of solo speed leveling.
370 DPS at level 40? About 1,000 DPS at level 60? 1,200 DPS at level 69?
In order to level from 1-70 in 24 hours, you would need to kill a mob, on average, every 3 seconds non-stop.
Quest xp isn’t taken into account, but none of the math above takes into account downtime between mobs, time spent eating/drinking, or time spent traveling. This is all assuming a straight, non-stop slaughter of mobs. Even if quest xp was factored in, it would not do enough to counter balance the unaccounted for downtime mentioned.
This myth is false! You cannot feasibly solo level a character to 70 in one day /played time. The DPS required to do so far exceeds what is possible within the current game mechanics.
The only possible way to pull it off is to be a little flexible with the term “solo” or with the definition of total played time. If you multibox multiple accounts, you could feasibly use your own handpicked group of characters to dash a character to 70. You would still technically be “soloing” as you are the only one playing those characters. However, it could be argued that the total /played time from leveling the characters in your group could count against you.
Short of multiboxing, though, there is no way to do it solo.
This is just one part of a series that I am starting on “Mythbusting in World of Warcraft.” Feel free to drop me a line if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions. I have 17 myths and rumors already on the list for testing after this, so expect more soon.