Just before I decided I was going to dive into Cataclysm, casually as it were, I contacted the folks over at Zygor Guides to see if they’d let me try out their fancy leveling addon. The individual that replied to me, John, was most accommodating and set up an account for me in nothing flat. Now I’m not just saying this… John is a really cool guy to deal with, and I think he may be the queso grande over at Zygor because he’s the voice in the videos.
In exchange for providing me the free leveling guide, I offered to write a review of it on my site, so here we go…
Alright… so there were a few reasons I wanted to try out the guide…
For starters, I wanted to see just how helpful these leveling guides were. Some of them are really pricey and I wanted to know if they were actually worth it, or if they were just some unneeded fluff. The reason I contacted Zygor is because after looking at the many guides out there, theirs was by far the slickest.
In-Game Leveling Guide Interface
First off, it’s actually an in-game addon. I wasn’t about to sift through page upon page of some PDF document trying to reference the location of this cave, that quest NPC, or where the eggs were that I needed to gather, etc… F**k that. Convenience and efficiency… that’s what I want!
After looking at the various leveling guides that provide in-game addons, I determined Zygor’s was the sauce. Number one, it looks bitchin, plus it has some options available in terms of sizing and footprint. Anyone who follows my blog knows that I’m a stickler for perfection and precision in terms of how my user interface is laid out. The Zygor Guide looked like it would integrate quite nicely into the ol’ GarUI.
Dummy-proof Talent Advisor
Another reason I went with Zygor’s is due to the awesome talent advisor. This is a killer tool for anyone leveling a new class. In my case, I was leveling a Rogue. Having never played a Rogue past level 19, plus with all of the changes they’ve undergone over the years, I was a bit unsure as to which route to take with my build. With this guide, you just pick the tree you want to go with, and it suggests the best build as you level – directing where you should allocate your talent points as you get them.
Nowadays, crappy builds are harder to create, as Blizzard has taken measures to dummy-proof the talent point placement process. However, it’s still quite possible to create a not-so-ideal spec. For veterans like me *flexes & polishes old-school PvP badge*, I can typically craft a good build based on common sense and experience, but nonetheless… having this addon makes it sooo easy to build a great spec as you level.
I get sooo many emails and requests for build assistance, which is fine… I don’t mind helping when I have time, but I can’t imagine how many players are not asking those questions and just stumbling around with sub-optimal specs. This talent advisor thing is pretty neat if you want to try a new class and know that you’re not spending your points like a noob, and that you’re getting the most from your spec.
So now that I’ve gotten the addon downloaded and installed, I log in… Now anyone who’s played the game of WoW knows that you don’t need any sort of leveling guide for the first couple of levels. The starting area quests are ridiculously easy for a reason. At any rate, I mainly spent this time toying with the addon, ie: resizing and configuring the Zygor addon interface and the directional arrow.
By default, the addon uses a pretty spiffy looking interface with all sorts of information, buttons, knobs, dials, etc… Actually, it has a few things you can click, but it’s pretty clean for the most part. You can resize it, move it, change the opacity, etc…
You can also minimize it so that only the name of the quests appear – in the order you should complete/obtain them. I ended up mostly going this route. Once you get the hang of the addon, I imagine this is what many people do.
Each quest that appears in the addon window has a short descriptor, telling you what to kill, collect, where to go, etc… In the minimalist view, you just hover over the quests and they accordion out showing the additional info when you need it.
In addition to showing quest completion order, the addon also advises on which quests to pick and when. This makes the leveling process a bit quicker and more efficient by reducing the amount of traveling you have to do.
The addon also advises you on where new flight paths are located, as well as when to set your new hearth. Undiscovered flight paths are now visible on the WoW world map, so it’s not like a huge advantage, but it’s still nice to have that friendly prompt when you need to grab a flight path. In this sense, the addon’s basically got your back in the event you miss one or forget to grab it. The hearth advisor is pretty cool though, as you’re not always certain where and when to set a new hearth location.
The directional arrow is something that’s been visible in many of the free quest addons for years, so many of you are probably familiar with how it works. For those that aren’t, it basically just turns you into a quest-completing-guided-missile-of-leveling-efficiency. No matter what it is that Zygor determines to be your next move, the arrow will point you in that direction and show you how far you need to go.
An Efficient & Enhanced Questing Experience
One of my favorite features of the Zygor Guide addon is the little icon that it places alongside the quest info in the addon window. This icon is for quest-related items that you need to use on NPCs, objects, etc… which makes things super easy and convenient. No need to fumble through your inventory trying to find some potion, etc… just click the little icon when you need to use it and done! When the addon says you need to hearth back to a certain location, it displays your hearthstone in the window as well. Pretty neato!
Along with providing additional info and tips about quests, Zygor also tells you the exact location of quest items you need to find. Again… I know Blizzard has enhanced the world map with added info to help make questing easier, but with the arrow and other slick features of the addon, it’s just that much smoother.
Now I’m not a huge lore guy, but I do like to get into the game and know why these quest NPCs are asking me to do whatever it is they need me to do. I was semi-concerned that Zygor’s would make the leveling process too sterile and void of any fun apart from the main objective — reaching max level. I can tell you that’s not the case.
In my opinion, the addon does not detract at all from the “leveling experience”, if that’s what you’re into. Personally, I think leveling is a good opportunity to learn the class mechanics, but I’m not hugely into it. I like to make the most of it, but anything that will help me get from 1 to 85 as quickly as possible is fine by me. However, with all of the new and exciting questies awaiting in Cataclysm, it has been a fun experience going through many of them.
In short, I found the addon to enhance the questing process overall by allowing for a more efficient use of time. Zygor’s basically plans your moves in an optimal order so that you can cut down on travel time – that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Well… plus a few other bells and whistles like the quest-use item shortcuts and the talent advisor.
Over the years, I remember getting semi-frustrated with having to trek all over the place; turning in this quest and that, only to stumble upon another quest which would have been better performed a few steps back. This caused particular grumbling back in the days when we had to wait until level 40 before we could purchase a mount. It’s not as bad now, but still… if there’s a best and most efficient way of getting through quests… sign me up!
Update: One important feature of the guide that I forgot to mention is something Michael pointed out here. It has auto-accept and auto-turn-in options for questing, which makes the questing process really speedy. If you don’t bother with the quest storylines, or if you’ve already been through them and don’t feel the need to read through the dialog again, you can just set Zygor to automatically accept and turn-in the quests with no NPC interaction. I haven’t tried this option myself, but there’s no arguing that it would make the questing process even more lightning fast.
Multiple Guides So You Won’t Get Bored
Another really cool feature of the addon is the fact that it has multiple guides for the many areas in the game. For example, say you’re a Worgen (like my Rogue), but you’re getting tired of hanging out in Kalimdor and long for the Eastern Kingdoms… no problem. You just hop a boat over to the Wetlands or wherever, and then tell the addon to sort out where best to get started on the new continent. For some reason, I really like the first 20 levels or so in Kalimdor, but then I much prefer the Eastern Kingdoms. Coincidentally, I’m not a huge fan of the starting quests in EK. I guess that’s probably due to some strange sentimental reason, being that my first experience with WoW was as a Night Elf.
Anyway… I mention this because if you need a change of scenery, it’s no biggie. Just open up the guide config and use the Smart Injection System. It cycles through all of the quests and then starts you out on a new journey based upon your level.
Zygor Understands Your Need to Go BG’ing and Dungeoning Now & Again
For players that like to BG (ie: me) or run instances (I like those too) while leveling, this system compliments that style of play quite nicely. After running a few BGs and/or dungeons, you will gain experience that the addon does not essentially know about. In a sense, you get ahead of yourself. If you start getting too far ahead of the game (ie: quests start to become gray), all you need to do is just start the Smart Injection System over again. It’ll blast through its database then spit out where you should head to next to get back on track, and to get the greatest experience gains via questing.
This worked out great for me, as I can only take so much questing before I need a break. My m.o. is to quest for awhile, run a few dungeons to get some new gears, then level through BGs once I hit around the *6 – *9 levels. If ever I started to level beyond the guide’s present itinerary, I’d just click the SIS and let it re-chart my course.
Not being critical, but a few things you should know…
So now that I’ve gone through a brief rundown covering the basics of the guide and have sung its praises, I want to mention a few things you should know… As many of you already know, I’m all about keepin’ it real here on the site, and part of that is being a straight-shooter with uninfluenced opinions.
This addon is a glutton for memory. This is actually to be expected, but just know this before you enter into a BG or dungeon. If your system can handle it, then no problem. Otherwise, it’s advisable you disable it beforehand. Plus, it’s not really necessary to have it active in those cases anyway.
How it stacks up memory-wise compared with other similar addons, I dunno. I just noticed that it sent my memory usage to around 50MB, up from about 22MB. Considering all that it does, it’s probably not that much, but if you’re running Gatherer and/or an auction house addon alongside of it, you will be experiencing some high overhead. This isn’t a major issue, but still worth a mention.
It does experience minor hiccups now and again. However, these are very few and far between, not to mention the Zygor team is actively updating this addon and fixing bugs constantly. I didn’t experience any issues whatsoever until I was in my late 20’s and had reached the Stonetalon Mountains. The addon kept telling me to kill certain NPCs for a quest drop, but as it turned out, I hadn’t completed the necessary pre-requisite quest needed to get the item to drop. But… a quick search on WoWHead revealed the issue and I was off and running again.
Apart from those two (what I consider minor) issues, there wasn’t really anything else I’d noticed that was worth mentioning as a cautionary advisement. All things considered, the addon is pretty damn solid.
Is Zygor Leveling Guide Worth It?
That depends. The version I was given costs sixty bucks I believe, which is a lot of bread for some people. However, considering people spend money on things like race changes, server transfers, sparkle ponies and ffs… $800 tiger mounts — I see the $60 for Zygor’s as money well spent if you want to get the most from your leveling experience.
For a player like me, the guide is marginally worth it. The reason being, I only use it a portion of the time because I am a BG rat. I love leveling through battlegrounds. But… I know for a fact that many of you do not. For those of you that want to rocket your journey to 85 and get the most from your leveling experience, I say the guide is definitely worth a look.
Then again… with all of the new quests available in Cataclysm, it’s likely I’ll be using the guide more and more.
There are also other Zygor plugins available for it as well, but I haven’t tried any of them. I’m pretty sure they have a gold guide, dailies guide, and some other stuff that you can add, but I haven’t used them. Considering how well the addon plays, I’d imagine those addons are pretty nice as well. Who knows… maybe if I ask nicely, John will add some of those goodies to my account *waves at John & smiles*.
Wanna Try the Zygor Leveling Guide For Free..?
Now you didn’t think I’d ask Zygor Guides for a comped copy without hooking my peeps up, did you..? Of course not..!
Because I love you guys, and because the folks at Zygor’s are so freakin’cool, they’ve agreed to let me give out 5 free copies of their guide through the site! That’s right… a $60 addon for free – no strings attached..!
All I ask is that you:
- Refrain from hitting me up for technical support. If you win the Zygor Guide, please do not look to me to support it. I’ve got my hands full enough as it is. I can tell you that the people at Zygor Guides are extremely cool, and in my experience, provide excellent support for the guide.
- After using the guide, please post your findings/reviews/opinions here. I’m really anxious to know what you think of it, and I’m sure the community would like to know as well.
That’s all there is to it.
Now I don’t want to keep those of you with alt-itis, who are chomping at the bit to get your paws on this addon, waiting too long. Yet, I want to make sure enough people have a shot at winning, so… I’m going to pick (5) winners next Friday, February 4th. Be sure to get your entry in by then.
Winners will be chosen at random, by some system I have yet to determine… and notified via e-mail. I will then forward your details to John at Zygor, he will set you up with your own account and you’ll be ready to rock!
Of course, in order to win you’ll have to submit an entry form, so here you go! Good luck!
Update: 02/04/11 -I’m sorry folks, but the Zygor Guides contest is officially over. Congratulations to the winners, however!
- Vilhelm P
- Heath C
- Jeremy T
- Jesse O
- Joseph A
- Sandra Y
We had a tie by the way, which is why there are six winners as opposed to only 5.
I hope that some of you found this review helpful. There may be a few bits and pieces I forgot to mention, but I think I touched on most of the important stuff. If I missed anything, it’s likely John will cover that in the comments below.
If you want more info on the guide, please visit the Zygor Guides website.