Monday, November 24, 2008

Leveling and immersion

A second weekend since the launch of WotLK has come and gone, and my Shaman is now level 78 and my Death Knight is still level 72. I had decided last week to focus solely on my Shaman so I can complete his level to 80 and start getting him somewhat geared for Naaxramus, which I hope we will begin raiding sometime mid-December. While I've logged many hours over the past 10 days, I have to say that most of the quests have been pretty easy. And the quests are plentiful in all zones, so you can probably level from 70 to 80 without ever stepping inside an instance though I'm not sure you would want to do that. I got one upgrade my first instance run, and have slowly been replacing items from instance runs, or from the odd quest regard ever since. And I finally replaced my ugly ZA head and shoulders last night from the Stone Halls. Gear certainly makes that leveling experience easier, but it isn't the mob difficulty that is the issue for many right now. Familiarity is the issue.

In BC there were actually a fairly small number of quest hubs in each zone. But that isn't the case in WotLK. There are several quest hubs in each zone, and because the zones are all larger than the zones in BC you can easily miss hubs as you travel around. One thing I would have liked to see is a more linear progression from one hub to another inside a zone. Or at the very least something a little more concrete that enables players to locate these quest hubs.

While I might have a small complaint in that regard, I have nothing but praise to heap on Blizzard for the level of immersion they created in WotLK. Particularly in the Dragon Blight. Not only do you get the absolutely fantastic quest chain that leads up to the titanic fight between the Alliance and Horde at the gates to Icecrown (Wrathgate), but it then leads you through another chain that sees King Wyrnn invading Undercity. Absolutely stunning! You can not help but feel the very nature of the Scourge invasion, and feel like you are part of something very much larger as you attempt to stem the tide of the undead.

I think I've probably leveled a little faster than the average person, and I should hit 80 within the next 2-3 days. But I feel fairly confident when I say the average person should be able to level to 80 within 3 weeks.