With the new expansion coming soon (ish!.. hopefully) I have started planning what to do when it hits (apart from spending a day trying unsuccessfully tying to log in of course!) Iíve come up with the following options, they are not mutually exclusive, in fact some would likely complement each other, but Iíve broken them down so i can easily get my head round them;

1. Gold gold gold!
2. Achievement, achievement, achievement!
3. Level level level!
4. Panda, panda, panda!
5. Pokemon, pokemon, pokemon!

1. Gold gold gold!
herbs, ore, meat plus a concerted push on progressing professions early could net a huge amount of gold. Fortunes have been made in the first month of an expansion.

As many gold sinks as Blizz come up with every server still has many players that could be identified as rich who will use their wealth to advance themselves quickly, as well as guilds that like to compete for server firsts or at least progression against other guilds on the server. Both use their amassed wealth to buy what they cant get themselves as soon as they are put up for sale, no matter how ridiculous the price.

The lucky person that gets the first tier gear recipes and plans will likely make tens of thousands profit on every item and demand will exceed the supply of mats. the farmers will initially be able to charge 20 times the eventual value of ore and herbs and see them be snapped up in minutes. Even the none cutting edge markets will see a hge boost, current enchants, potions, flasks glyphs and gear will be in demand as people level up alts, start up professions en masse and within days prices will start to skyrocket on these as people discover thereís hardly any supply of the materials for these anymore.

A disadvantage to this route is much of the new crafting requires you to go out and quest, level etc to get mats, buy the patterns and so forth, whilst the most dedicated AH goblin will be able to make their millions never going further than the mailbox most will at some point need to actually go out and do something to progress their gold making.

2. Achievement, achievement, achievement!
and by achievement i mean server first achievements, reputations, and pretty much any other achievement which comes with either status or regard (preferably in pet or mount form!).

It amazed me how long it took for certain achievements to be got at the start of cataclysm on the server i was on then, if id known no one was going for them I could have got two with very little effort, but like everyone else i just assumed someone else would be going for them. Fishing, archaeology, first aid... there is little honour to be gained by getting these ones, they are not exactly hard to do but still a server first is an exciting prospect.

As for none server first achievements, this involves prioritising what you want first, then going for it. In reality, for me at least, it is guild achievements I would be interested in chasing first, unlocking whatever resources are added with the expansion, be it whatever replaces fish feasts, cauldrons, banners, cloaks etc etc. This one cant be done in isolation, by aiming for these achievements we will end up heading towards at least one of the other options.

There is no real disadvantage from going for achievements, though going for server firsts, especially the secondary profession ones does not advance you further and sods law almost guarantees that the one time i attempted to get them would be the one time others had exactly the same idea.

3. Level level level!
this is the one I chose for cataclysm, 3 days and very little sleep later my main was 85 and i was doing dungeons and starting to gear up for the raids and other challenges ahead. This is probably the sensible choice, the quicker i can get to 90 and geared up the quicker I can help the rest in the guild do the same getting raids and dungeon events organised and resources coming in quickly.

The same problems that occurred at the start of cataclysm will occur with MoP to varying degrees, overcrowded questing areas where one day all mobs are consistently killed and looted before you can get to them and the next day the mobs are respawning too fast for the few that are still on the section of quests with the majority having moved on.

Then thereís the choice of which character to level, do you go for your tried and trusted main of cataclysm or do you go with the class that comes out in front when the expansion launches (there is always one). Will my holy paladin still be of most benefit to the guild or would switching to my shaman to level first bring more value to when we start progression? Do we need another role entirely, should i switch to the hunter or mage, or convert my deathnight or paladin into a tank (and for any guildies reading this, no i am not going to turn into a tank, these are hypothetical options! ;-)

4. Panda, panda, Panda!
This is an outsider on the list, I normally level alts when I donít have much left to do on my mains. But still, i like the sound of pandas, Iím intrigued by monk healing and id like to experience the new starting zones sooner rather than later.

This option provides the single biggest 'new experience' weíve had in WoW since deathnights, new race, class and zone combine for what i hope will be a truly refreshing experience. I know i could go onto the beta and give them a go but i tend not to go in for big betas as i rarely feel i can give any valuable feedback that hasnít already been identified.

The two apparent disadvantage to this option are that a) its a pretty big delay to get a maxed level character for raiding and the like, and b) competing with hundreds/thousands of other characters in a starting zone where i donít even have any skills to entertain me is not that inviting.

5. Pokemon, pokemon, pokemon!
the most outrageous of all the options, I have had a thought quietly lingering in my mind that maybe i cant be arsed with all the levelling up, raiding and gearing up again. Maybe, just maybe, all i want to be is the dude that has all the pets and knows how to use them!

Given the reactions pet battles have been getting on beta this might not actually be as outrageous as i first implied, its looking fun, detailed and a superb time sink. My 144 pets looks small compared to the amount we will be getting in MoP and the collector inside me is chomping at the bit to get started.

This also ties in with a few of the other options nicely. gold can be made by training and trading captured pets, you could in theory do it whilst levelling as you will be naturally travelling around the world giving plenty of opportunity to pick up new pets. Im sure there must be achievements attached to collecting and battling pets though i dont know if you get anything for them.

Finally pet battles is a sort of tame pvp, you still get to win or lose but donít have nto deal with the insane levels of anger that appear in proper pvp so much!

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Do you have options in mind that i havenít thought of? got a plan of action already? all comments or tweets etc gratefully received!