Greedy Goblin

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Boosting a typical behavior between casuals and happen even with good players involved. Boosting means that a higher level or geared player helps the lower one performing a quest, instance or grind which provide no benefit to the higher one.

I never boosted anyone nor received any boosting until yesterday. Me and my girlfriend are leveling a warlock-shaman pair just to have some play time together. Our mains can only play together in raids since have different game goals, she is up to heroics, I rather spend my time by the AH. So we mutually grouped 1 main with 1 alt to let the alt collect 40 Necrotic Runes needed to buy 2 lvl 70 epics. We both have it.

However this endgame event is special since it gaves T5 equivalent item for grinding simple lvl 70 monsters, so has very high profit rate, especially since it also provide 10 Argent Dawn rep for each monster and also Scourgestones. During normal game periods such rewards are non-existent.

My subjective opinion: boosting is extremely boring for both parties. As boosted I just stood by, being unable to do anything except providing low level healthstones. I learned nothing, I performed nothing, it was not fun at all. As booster, grinding these low-level monsters were boring and repetitive "Blast, Missiles, Barrage, Tab, Blast, Missiles, Barrage, Tab, Blast, Missiles, Barrage, Tab, Blast, Missiles, Barrage, Tab" for eternity. I definitely won't boost anymore unless I have a very good reason.

However let's come with the objective analysis. Is boosting a profitable spending of time? The two scenarios to be compared:
  • Main of A boost little alt of B for an hour then swap
  • Alts of A and B quest together for two hours
Let's see the different fields:
  • Grinding: when grouped with a high level, your XP drops significantly. I got less XP for my GF killing a lvl 70 monster (I'm lvl 52) than I would get from killing a lvl 48 monster alone. Unless the booster has heavy AoE, just killing monsters not or barely provide more XP than killing them alone. Don't forget that boost XP must be halved due to the 1 hour boost vs 2 hours of play, so grind-boost with a non-AoE is absolutely stupid.
  • Quests: High level player can kill things much faster than you. So kill X monsters or kill Y special monster is completed in no time. So instead of 20 mins killing you get 1 min. However the time limit here is not the killing itself but the road to the quest spot. While the booster has +100% mount, the low level may have just +60% mount, or just +40% form/aspect or no speed increase at all. If the road is 10 mins there, 10 mins back, than the difference between 20 mins of fight or 1 min of boost changed into 40 vs 21, no longer worth it. So quest boosting is only good if many quests are in one location, you spend most of your time fighting and not running. The collect X items from monsters can be even nastier if the monsters available don't provide enough items. Waiting for respawn can take the whole difference between boosting and fighting alone.
  • Instances: they are limited size quest territories with monsters surely alive. If the low level have all or most of the quests, than the instance-boost can provide nice quest-XP, especially after 2.3 where instance-quest-XP is greatly increased. Without the quests it's just grinding and give ridicolous XP.
So instance-boost good, quest maybe, grind never. How can one optimize the boost?
  • The easiest way to optimize boosting is split it up among more boosted. So if you have a group of 4 low levels and you find 1 high level to boost you, the same effort causes 4x more boost.
  • If your class is capable of healing you can greatly increase boost speed if you retalent to healer. Healing is the only thing that a low-level can do for a high one. While 300 healing per sec doesn't sound much, it means that during 33 secs you replace his health pool. And this makes the difference between a continous run and having to stop in every half minute for eating. A soulstone can make the difference between a minor annoyance and a corpserun.
  • If your class is stealth capable, you can bypass unneccesary mobs so the booster has only has to kill the bosses, greatly increasing the boost speed.
Now let's see the booster from the goblin perspective. If he "helps", so boosts only to be nice, according to goblin philosophy, he's plain stupid. However he can ask money for boosts. Since the Isle of Dailies provides 200G/hour he has to ask for this amount from the low level to not lose money. It obviously proves that boosting for item (making a low level instance for the drop) is completely cost-ineffective unless the low-level is a twink with a very rich main.

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