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Everything old is new again

February 1, 2011

Well, most of it…not Outland. But in our side projects in WoW, the speed-leveling worgen and a goblin I tried out last week, I find it’s almost a shame that so many of my toons are already level 80. I’m enjoying the low leveling experience much more than the endgame.

With three level 85’s in the bag now (one or two more to go), the total lack of variation in leveling has become a downer. It’s not as if Hyjal and Vashj’ir are the two optional starter zones. To run the endgame efficiently, you need to at least dabble in both, so you have access to the various rep factions and their faction vendors. While I suppose you could skip them entirely, the rewards are so nice and so easy to get that it’s silly not to.

Past that, you have a reason to hit every zone beyond that. Deepholm introduces you to Therazane. Uldum has the Ramkahen. Twilight Highlands has the Dragonmaw (or Wildhammer for alliance scum, heh). Not to mention all the dungeon discoveries. There is no skipping Borean Tundra, or Grizzly Hills, or leveling down different paths on different toons to get some variation.

On my second alt, the pally would-be healer, I ran most of Hyjal because I liked it, ran enough of Vashj’ir, maybe a third to a half of the Deepholm content, barely touched Uldum, and at 85 I don’t see much reason to quest anywhere but Twilight Highlands except to goof off or hit Tol Barad for its useful dailies. The rest of her leveling was from healing on random dungeon pugs, which accounted for a lot.

And then on the other hand, we have the worgen duo. Playing one night a week together, they go fast. We have thus far decided to play out the Kalimdor Experience, in that you can level up into the 50s entirely on one continent or the other. At this point they are mid-40s and they are trucking along. Tanaris or Felwood next. We’ve skipped a few Kalimdor zones, even. Heirlooms alone make it so fast. If they were in an active guild it would be even quicker. We have to do a little extra herbalism on the side just so the profession skills keep up with our levels.

Some of the new zones have been fascinating in their novelty. Just lately, we hit the revamped Thousand Needles, starting with the lake where the Shimmering Flats used to be. What to do in all that water? Step one — make a boat! So our werewolves cruise around in their own speedy little boat-mounts. They also use here the same buffs to swimming and underwater running speed that are employed to make Vashj’ir fun. No seahorses though.

Likewise, the quests in 1K Needles were a radical change, with Alliance actually having things to do other than visit the Flats, buy some ice cream, check out the pod race, and hunt turtles and such. It’s not just for Horde anymore.

Not all of the Kalimdor Experience has been so novel. Dustwallow Marsh is relatively unchanged, with the exception of some plot advancement and of course the big road the Alliance built across the marsh to support their invasion of the Barrens. But then, they had recently updated the Marsh with the addition of the goblin town Mudsprocket, so it’s fine.

All told, I am not looking forward to hitting 58 on the worgen and going through the Dark Portal…levels 58-80 are going to be a step down as we go through the previous expansions, and through the learning processes of the Blizzard devs in turn. It would be too much to ask that they ‘break Outland’ and rebuild it, at least for now, but I hope they do one of these days. We’ll go from new and interesting questing that puts the character into the world-changing story to collecting poop.

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