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Joana's Leveling Guide Review

Posted Wed, Apr 15, 2009 by Xerin

Over the next few weeks,Ten Ton Hammer will be taking a look at several leveling guides. We'll be covering in-game paid leveling guides, as well as some free guides available for use on the internet. Every guide claims to be the fastest and the best, but which one really IS the best, and which ones are just cheap scams? We intend to find out. After we've reviewed them all, we'll have a comparison to see exactly which leveling guide reigns supreme.

Today David Piner takes a look at the Joana's paid leveling guide.


Guide: Joana's Leveling Guide

Website: www.joanasworld.com

Type: One time charge

Price:
$77 USD

Reviewed By: 
Xerin
Joana’s Leveling Guide is one of the oldest and well known leveling guides out there and it shows. If you look for the term “leveling guide” you’ll find hundreds of “reviews” on sites trying to earn money through Joana’s affiliate program. Most of it is boilerplate nonsense with alternating caps lock screaming how QUICKLY you can LEVEL to eighty. I assure you that this isn’t like that, but a fair and honest look at Joana’s guide. Is it worth the money? We’ll see.

To start with let’s look at the facts. Joana’s guide is for the Horde only meaning that it’s useless for the Alliance.  I should say “guides” because there are two. One spanning the first 70 levels and the second covering Northrend (levels 70-80). The price is rather high with 1-70 costing 45 dollars (in USD) and the second guide coming in at 47 dollars. If you buy together as a bundle you’ll need to cough up 77 dollars. Once you make your purchase you’ll get access into the special member’s area where all the content is located.

You do get a lot of content for your money. There is the HTML (online) version of the guide that has links to popular WoW databases, videos, and pictures for a lot of the quests. There is also an in-game addon that we’re about to take an in-depth look at. You also get free updates in the future, but the update frequency isn’t too high to make that a major selling point. It’s also exploit free and ToS friendly so you don’t have to worry about Blizzard’s banhammer coming after you.

Even if there is a lot of content the big question remains, is it worth it?

Information Collection and Regurgitation

We’ll look at the addon aspect along with the “does it work” aspect in a little bit, but right now let’s focus on the guide. Joana lists every quest that he believes you need to do to speed yourself to level 70 or 80 (depending on which guide you purchase). The entire guide is color coded so you can see that blue means “pick up a quest” and this color means watch a video and you get the drift. However, there is a lot of key details missing.

It’s true that Joana tells you which quests to do and even gives you the coordinates. What’s not true is that it isn’t “detailed”. A good example would be “Do X quest (32,18).” Or “Do X quest (read the quest description or watch this video to see how I did it).” Well, I’m not going to be speed leveling if I get to those coordinates and don’t know what to do. Should I loot something, kill something, or what? Some quests do give the full details, but Joana gets lazy at some points making you have to rely on questhelper or a WoW database or slogging through the WoW text to read about the quest.


The videos are also unnecessary and the pictures obtrusive towards your goal. If I wanted to look at pictures of how to do each quest I could easily look at many of the free resources available online and videos are overkill for 9/10’s of the ones he does. Not to mention if you’re using the addon you’ll have to pop out of the game to look the stuff up and if you’re not then you’re already doing a good deal of alt-tabing.

The tone in which the guide is written can also get in the way. Many times Joana will brag about how awesome he is. “Watch how fast I did it in my video!” can get rather annoying when you already have to get through the massive amounts of horn honking that’s on his site.

Overall I’d rate the delivery method and writing style poorly. In trying to condense his guide to make it as brief as possible he also hinders you by making you do the work of finding out how to complete the quests. Sure sometimes coordinates alone is enough to get you through a quest, but it’s times where you need the details that it’s annoying.

Leveling Faster than Thrall Himself

Joana’s guide boasts insane leveling speed from following his guide. The quests are selected to be as efficient and possible with no overlap. It’s designed to tell you what quests to get and what order to do them in to keep you from running back to town just to get a followup for an area you already completed. The goal is to get you the right quests and in the right order to keep you from wasting as much time as you can.

The first thing to note is that the entire guide is written from a Hunter’s perspective. The Hunter is one of the best leveling classes in the game with high amounts of DPS and little downtime. Hunters can also solo difficult enemies without a problem. This means that if you’re not a Hunter then things may not work as fast as he claims.

The second thing is the inherent problems with leveling guides. Joana does a good job of breaking the guide up into sections but if you ever lose “sync” (if you outlevel a section,  do quests out of order, etc.) with the guide then you’ll spend more time trying to figure out how to get back to following it. This isn’t Joana’s fault so much, but it’s worth noting.

To give an opinion on if it works (and speeds you through leveling) we’ll have to look at the various level ranges first.

1-60 (Azeroth)   

To be up front and honest I’ll say that the guide was mostly useless for me for the first sixty levels and even went as far as to slow me down. If you’re wanting to get to sixty as fast as possible you’ll be much better off purchasing a second account through the RAF (Recruit-a-Friend) service than trying to run all over Azeroth. There are too many quests and you don’t need a guide to pick up as many quests as you can do, do as many as you can before you level, and pick up some more.

A long time ago before the XP changes you’d find Joana’s guide as one of the best tools for getting through 1-60. Now though I find following it a chore and felt as if it slowed me down more than sped things up. It might be me, but I see a recruit-a-friend account and running a second instance of WoW a better investment than this part of the guide.

60-70 (Outland)

Things pick up though during the Outland portion of the guide. The guide is helpful and makes a lot of good calls on what quests to do and in what order, but the game kind of already makes those calls for you. Following his guide will get you through Outlands in about one to two days /played if you’re really good and know a lot of the quests. You’re going to spend a lot more time if you’re new so you might want to look more towards 3 days /played.

70-80 (Northrend)

If you were to pick just one of the guides to purchase for the near 50 dollar price tag I’d highly suggest getting this one. This guide has the same problems as mentioned above but he does a really good job of putting things in the “perfect” order keeping you from having follow-ups for regions you’ve already cleared. He’ll also point you towards lots of good quests that start from drops and get you moving through things as fast as you possibly could go.

It’s well written and the content is top notch. Following the Northrend guide will get you from 70-80 in about 3 days /played if you’re the average player. You may look for more, but you’ll probably find yourself moving faster than if you didn’t have a guide to lead you about.

Turn Left at the Green Murlocs – The Addon

I do not have a lot of good things to say about the addon. The interface is basic and I’d go so far to say that it’s crude. It comes with a total of three buttons and a pull down menu to navigate through it. You have to open the guide up and click “prev” and “next” to navigate the list (you can bind these buttons to keys if you wish) while the pulldown menu will get you to the major categories. There is no automatic advancement like in Zygor’s addon and the details are often sparse on what to do (as you read earlier).

The main addon screen has a box with the guide in it. There isn’t a lot more to it than that. The section you’re on now is bolded and if you close it then it’ll go into a mini-map button that you can highlight to see what your current objective is. To see what’s going on you’ll have to open the addon, read his brief description, close it again and if you don’t know enough look up how to do the quest. This makes things as annoying as fighting 20 Murlocs with a level one newbie in the Barrens while you’re chasing Mankirk’s wife who is spamming general about Chuck Norris.



The addon does work with TomTom to create waypoints and navigation arrows to quest objectives, but that’s more of a “sometimes” feature. If a quest has multiple coordinates then you’ll only get one waypoint for the quest or sometimes you won’t even get a waypoint. Joana didn’t even take the liberty to put each objective on a separate line, but instead puts the coordinates all on the same one. Making your own waypoints can really tear into your leveling time and makes things very aggravating.

A lot could have been done with the addon to make it worthwhile, but overall it’s a big miss. While you get waypoints they’re not always going to help and you often times have to leave the game to view pics, videos, or just look up how to do the quest online making things aggravating and pointless. It’s nice to have, but it’s a poor way to get the information to you.

So, is it worth the gold, I mean cash?

The title has a simple answer. “No, unless you have the cash to burn.” The guide works and it works well. Joana’s got a good system and his quest orders make sense. Following his guide from 60 to 80 will get you zooming through the levels like Dwarf after a full pint. However, his guide is stuck in the past. What used to be acceptable isn’t anymore. Without more descriptions, a better addon, and less ego-inflating text there is no way you could call this the best guide anymore.

At one time Joana was king of the leveling guides, at least for the Horde. Now you can find guides that cost less (and may even be free) that may not have the same leveling system but do have more information, better addons, and are way more user friendly. If Joana ever hops out of the past and presents a more modern version of his guide then I might say it’s the best, but until then take your cash elsewhere. That is unless you already know the quests, have the money to spend, and just want his quest order. Then it may be worth your while.


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