Posts Tagged “Leveling”

I’ve forgotten how long it was between levels when you hit 70. Between 50 – 70 it was very easy for me to gain 2 or 3 levels per day. Now in Northrend I find myself going 2 or 3 days between leveling. I forgot how much Blizzard nerfed the experience requirements for all the pre-Wrath levels. However, I’m not really minding it all too much because questing through Northrend is pretty damn fun. Today I’m going to take a look back at the leveling experience and see how it compared to BC and Vanilla.

I absolutely hated leveling in Burning Crusade. Hellfire Peninsula was a barren waste land that sapped the energy right out of me. It felt like an absolute chore leveling through that area and the first time through almost ruined the game for me. I never really felt engaged at all while leveling and the constant abuse I got from max level Horde players did not help in the least. Hellfire being the only place for level 60 characters to quest made it a gankers paradise until the introduction of the Isle of Quel’Danas. Another chief complaint I heard from players who were around at the start of the expansion was that the huge volume of players each vying for the same quest mobs or quest items made leveling a cut throat experience. It was dog eat dog on the road to level 70.

The quest designers at Blizzard learned their lesson and Wrath of the Lich King brought with it to two unique starting zones. By not having the entire player base funneled into one starting area, the competition for quest mobs was drastically reduced which resulted in a much calmer leveling experience. The other benefit of having two starter zones was that if one of the zones was currently populated with griefers, you could make your way over to the other zone and continue with your leveling. Score a win here for Wrath.

My other chief complaint about leveling in BC is that I never really felt involved in the storyline. Aside from a handful of quests, it didn’t really seem as if I was taking the fight to the Burning Legion or to Illidan. It wasn’t until Shadowmoon Valley and the Akama quests that I even remember seeing anything about Illidan and by that point I was already close to level 70. Unlike in BC, the quest chains in Wrath got you involved with the main story lines right from the get go. In the Borean Tundra, one of the two starter zones, you get involved in a quest line that leads you face to face with the Lich King. By the end of the Thassarian quest chain in Borean, I was completely hooked. And it only got better from there. the pinnacle of questing in Wrath may have been the chain of events leading up to what unfolded at the Wrathgate. That was the first time I could honestly say I was blown away by an event in game. Personally, I was never bored while questing in Northrend nor did I ever find it to be a chore. Each new zone promised a new and exciting story arc with quest chains that helped build upon them. From the Worgen in Grizzly Hills to Freya in Sholazar Basin, there was always something new to explore.

For me, Wrath hit a home run in the leveling department. Some folks complained that they saw Arthas way too much and were kind of burnt out on him by the end of the expansion. I whole heatedly disagree. His presence and subsequent defeats made it feel as if I really were an important cog in the fight against the Scourge. And it was certainly a vast improvement over the invisible Illidan. The best part of leveling in Wrath however, was that it continued to improve the more we progressed into the expansion. Later patches would add Heirloom items that could be passed onto lower level characters to improve the early leveling experience and they would also introduce the Dungeon Finder tool, making it much simpler to find a group for an instance run. Overall, I was extremely happy with the changes Blizzard made to the leveling game in Wrath and I’m looking forward to what changes they have in store for us come Cataclysm.

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A few quick observations for you guys on this lovely, and I use that word loosely, Monday morning. The leveling grind from 50 – 70 has gone relatively quick. Much quicker than I remember the first two times I’ve done it. The dungeon finder has been an absolute wonder for leveling. From 50 to about 58 or so I would just pop into the queue and roam around Western or Eastern Plaguelands finishing up quests until it was time to hop into a dungeon. In my battlegroup the wait for a dungeon as DPS could take upwards of 30 minutes, but it’s not so bad when you’re actively doing something else. Taking the time to do quests between dungeons, I would average two or three dungeons per level.

I really enjoyed questing through both EPL and WPL. For me it was fun because you’re it’s the first chance you’re given to take the fight to the scourge. Also, it proved to be a very nice source for runecloth and allowed me to crank up my tailoring skill in a huge way. The first couple of times I leveled, I did the 55-60 grind in Silithus and I gotta say EPL and WPL was much more entertaining and felt a lot less soul crushing. Not to mention no having to listen to that awful buzzing noise was a very nice perk. There is also an interesting quest chain that begins with current scourge killing badass, Tirion Fordring. You can find him hanging out in Eastern Plaguelands near the river that marks the boundary between it and the Western Plaguelands. It’s a cool little look at the man who would someday hold the Ashbringer and lead the fight into Icecrown Citadel. Worth checking out if you’re in the area.

The dungeon finder tool provided a nice little break from all the questing and was a fantastic source of experience. One thing I noticed in a lot of these dungeons is the rather large quantity of idiotic Deathknight tanks. I understand the allure of the class being that I have one myself. The thing that really drew me to it was being able to start at 58 and skip that horrific leveling grind. And it’s really great that you can tank on your new DK and get instant queues in the dungeon finder. But is it really THAT hard to take 10 minutes before you queue for a dungeon to research a proper spec for your Death Knight? Yes all three talent trees make for very viable tanks, but there are key talents in each tree that you need to pick up to be a successful tank. Please don’t be that guy and queue as a tank in your DPS spec. You’ll make everyone’s lives that much simpler if you just invest a few minutes of time into picking up a proper tanking spec. Even if you can’t be bothered to take an honest to goodness tanking spec, for the love of my freaking sanity, make sure you’re at least in FROST PRESENCE.

One last thing I discovered this weekend while leveling is that the Alterac Valley Battleground Weekend freaking rocks. Even if you don’t really dig PVP, you really should give it a try. You will gain obscene amounts of experience during AV. All it takes is a few victories per level to gain you a level and since the queue is relatively short due to the large amount of people taking part coupled with the fact that it’s a 40 man BG you could easily gain a couple of levels an hour. It’s also a good opportunity to try out some PVP and get a feel for it. I find AV to be the easiest on folks new to PVP since you can just move with the pack and not feel as if you’re being too big of a drag on the team for not really knowing what you’re doing. Definitely easier to hide in the crowd in AV as opposed to say Warsong Gulch.

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