Friday, March 18, 2011

Leveling is Fun Again

Although this is a departure from the usual "here's how to make more gold in WoW" post, in the end it may proved to cover that topic as well. Given the infrequency of my posts I suppose one could say the word "departure" implies that I post a lot. OK, fair enough.

However, I was motivated by a pm from The Gold Queen over at Goldcastles. She linked my site to her blogroll so I figured some new content should follow. 

/cracks knuckles....So here goes.....
I have been leveling my Shaman lately since I noticed a hole in my professions. This past Monday I realized I had:

  • Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Tailoring at 525
  • Leatherworking at 515
  • Herbalism, Mining, Skinning at 525
  • Engineering 0
My other characters are all maxed out with unique profs. I have 3 85s (Alch, BS, Ench, JC, Mining, Herbalism) and two 82s (Inscript & Tailoring, LW and Skinning). My next highest toon at that point was either a Shaman or Mage, each at L41. get Engineering I need to drop something or level a toon. I chose to level a toon.

New Leveling Experiences

Quick show of hands: how many of you have done some of the new mid level content since Cataclysm came out? 

I had not. Frankly, I dreaded leveling my Mage and Shaman since I had done the quests in Redridge, Wetlands, STV, Searing Gorge, Burning Steps and Blasted Lands so much that they were just a complete drag. Since I didn't begin playing WoW until WoLK all my character experience is post TBC--so Outlands is still pretty unique to me.

I had heard that the new Cataclysm content was good. I did play a Worgen through the starting zone, but deleted it in favor of a Goblin. I have played it through the starting zone but haven't done anything else with him.

Badlands Now Has Good Quests

The zones actually go very quickly. I have +10% experience heirloom chest and shoulders so coupled with the 100% rested buff L40-L49 just flew by.

A notable Quest series is The Day That Deathwing Came. Three different guys give renditions of how they beat up on Deathwing when he laid waste to Azeroth. There are different cut scenes, great storylines and just flat awesome imagery. 

Blood Rained from the Sky
We get to see Deathwing in his human form.

Human Aspect
The Dwarf's story includes typical bravado.

More great visuals in the other stories include a super "Deathwing in the clouds" image.

Soaring in the Clouds
The other questline that was just incredible was The Hidden Clutch. It begins with three Dwarfs who accompany you through a few hard to kill mobs. You get utility bars that control their actions, like a ranged attack, a shout, a shield, etc. You kill a big boss and that takes you to a Gnome called Rhea. She sends you to collect some eggs and then you discover she is really Rheastrasza of the Red Dragonflight.

The eggs are Black Dragon eggs and she is using them for experiments, trying to find a way to neutralize Deathwing and his spawn. In the end, she pays the price for her unethical behavior by sacrificing herself and her own egg--Deathwing appears and kills them both. You get a nice trinket though, Rhea's Last Egg.

It was a very thoughtful and moving story line. Enjoyable to the end.

Then for fun, you get to kick some Billy Goats off the side of the cliffs. Good clean fun I guess.

Bye Bye Billy

Searing Gorge Doesn't Suck Anymore

The only WoLK area that sucked more than Searing Gorge was Azshara. I hated that place because it was so hard to get around at level. Without flight, it was hard to get around at all. 

Searing Gorge was almost as bad, especially having to descend into the mines, back to the top, back to the mines, etc. Thorium Brotherhood rep just wasn't worth the effort IMHO.

Bolstered by a very positive Badlands experience I moved quickly into Searing Gorge. Once again, I was impressed. 

The Thorium Brotherhood rep is completely upgraded. Now each quest gives tons of rep. There were at least three quests that gave 1,000 or more rep. I went from neutral to almost Revered just doing the quests in the zone. 

You still have to travel around the zone and burn towers, kill spiders and Ogres, and descend into the mines. However, the new "quest completion pop up window" mechanic prevents you from having to make several trips up and down those damn elevators. You can complete just about everything in one visit, which is handy.

You also meet Lunk in the Thorium Brotherhood camp. He is a friendly Ogre who doesn't like to kill things. He would prefer you find non-lethal ways to vanquish your foes. He is fun loving, maybe even 'slow witted'. 

Lunk will encourage you to let him surf the spiders. You can let him do so--it is funny to watch.

Surf's Up Dude!
The quest item, venom, somehow adheres to his stomach when he gets off the spider.

Yum Yum Venom on My Tum
Of course, if you kill the spiders you get the venom too. Its just not as much fun.

Then you also have to convince a particular Dwarf faction to stand with the Thorium Brotherhood and you against the Dark Iron Dwarfs. How do you do that? Well, by dancing of course!

Lunk Dances (he really does)
Swamp of Sorrows & Blasted Lands

The Swamp of Sorrows used to be a mind numbing quest zone. The story line was confusing, sort of a pre-TBC thing with Forsaken and a weird PvP thing happening with roaming Horde dudes that ganked you without hesitation.

Now, the zone is still pretty ugly but the quests are better. There is a new Worgen area to the south with some neat quests that play into the Worgen lore. 

Blasted Lands hasn't changed that much. Nethergarde Keep is revamped somewhat. You still have to go to the top of the strangely high tower to meet a quest giver but overall it is more cohesive and in line with the other revamped quests.

I zoomed through both zones as fast as I could, working in a few dungeons here and there. As soon as I hit 58 it was off to the Dark Portal. 

Outlands quests haven't been all that stirring. There are some new features but overall they are very much like WoLK. 

Good for Professions

My Engineering is up to 300 now. I'm in serious need of some Fel Iron bars. 

I am really surprised at the new content. Hard to imagine saying that some 12+ weeks after Cataclysm rolled out but I haven't had any inclination to do mid level quests. I pursued the Worgen and Goblin starting zones.

How about you? Anyone else avoid the mid level quests? If you have done some, what did you like or dislike?


  1. Southern Barrens and Thousand Needles were a lot of fun for me as well (Horde) and then I went to Un'Goro Crater, which was previously one of my favourites, and really enjoyed the new quest flow there too.

    It is definitely a nice change from the "Dungeon Grind" of the LFD era.

  2. I started a dwarf shaman just pre-Cata to lvl 36 - she went thru the new dwarf starter zone, new Loch Modan, Wetlands etc & I loved it. Since Cata my warrior has been thru all those zones you mentioned plus the Eastern & Western Plaguelands - both totally revamped I think. I only ever took 1 toon thru Western PL before but I don't remember the caravan or anything.

    My warrior is 62 now & hitting Hellfire - I don't think much of Outlands has been changed, nor Northrend so it's still a bit of quest/dungeon grinding for me.

  3. As far as I know, nothing has changed in Outland nor Northrend at all.

    At least that was my experience when I quested through those zones, but I also remember reading about how the developers wanted to upgrade them "in the future" (which probably means, by the next expansion).

  4. @ Kathroman: I need to play my Horde toons more. It would all be new since I never played WoLK content on them but the troll starting area is awesome now as is the Goblin zone.

    @ Nev: Shaman rock! I think Hellfire and Northrend are basically the same. I do plan to avoid Zangamarsh and play Netherstorm though. Never spent any time there before.

    @ Vayaz: that would be a welcome change!