Having raiding attendance problems (already/again) gave me considerably more time during the week to level and so I actually hit level 50 first thing this morning. All in all it only took a few days, spending a couple hours here or there as dual-speccing has really paid off for me. Being able to quest as feral, with the extremely limited down time, and then queue as healer with the reduced made the 40-50 bracket go by in a blur. Previously by the time I hit level 40 I would be jumping around completing quests in the Hinterlands and traveling to other regions to grab as many quests as I could. But this time I was just beginning to quest in Stranglethorn Valley and finally finished my last quest by traveling to the Hinterlands and picking up bottles along the beach. Which is a pretty good indication of the synergies between the new dungeon system, heirloom items, and how the dual-spec system can allow you to tap the best leveling spec (even if it's not always the best dungeon spec). In the past I’ve commented on how I felt the leveling experience in the old world was just abysmal but things are very much improved if you can tap the heirloom items and use LFG extensively.
The 40 to 50 leveling experience is very much like the 30 to 40 experience questing wise. As Feral I still have the same tools I had 10 levels ago, though they’ve all been refined through period updates. Claw remains the primary attack in cat form, but I already knew what awaited me at level 50 (Mangle) and how incredibly better things were going to get relatively soon. A lot of Ferals might be attempting to spread their wings a bit and use Ravage or Pounce, but most of the time I ignored them both. For me speed was everything so I’d agro a mob with feral fire and build up 3-4 combo points with claw and rake, then finish them off with a ferocious bite. And immediately move onto the next mob.
I'm still lamenting the lack of any true feral cat AOE at this level so I did all my dungeon runs as Resto. Which I'm very happy to report is every bit as capable of healing a dungeon run at this level as they are at level 80. Even without my favorite healing spell -- Wild Growth. Even having to heal virtually everyone in the party on multiple runs (Black Rock Depths) with everyone AOEing and pulling agro off the tank, I was still able to heal adequately without running out of mana. In fact on no run I've been on yet have I come close to running OOM wearing the heirloom shoulders, chest, and main-hand weapon. Everything else is either a quest reward or something I picked up on a run. And I haven't been all that worried about replacing anything either. If I see something on a run and win the roll, fine, but otherwise I just go on with what I already have. Where I've mentioned having to exercise healing discipline at level 80, I can't stress enough how important that is at level 40 or 50.
If you’re using the LFG like it’s going out of style – as I did, then you’ll undoubtedly find as I did there was a reason why I hardly ever ran Muradon. Actually the final wing wasn’t so bad, but Purple and Orange were something I always avoided if possible. Unfortunately I got them both all too often these past few days. I guess I actually didn’t mind Purple all that much as it was relatively short and sweet, but Orange was very annoying with all the knock down effects. I found I could out-range the knock down and still heal effectively, but it was something that took me a bit of a while to judge properly before it stopped being a problem for me. Also, Orange isn’t the wing you want to run with an obnoxious tank. On more than one occasion I found myself having to heal tanks that love to jump around and kite the oozes and who ended up getting creamed as they were repeatedly hit in the back. I left more than one group this week because of that. I can certainly understand wiping because weird things happen, but to have to eat repair bills because someone is intentionally being an idiot is something all together different. I wasn’t seeing any of this in the lower level brackets but I began to see more and more of it as I got closer to level 50. Should be quite interesting to see if it continues in the 50 to 60 bracket.