Thursday, April 22, 2010

Druid 50-60

I am amazed at how the LFG system has changed the face of leveling.  Normally the 50 bracket was dreadful and the bracket I least enjoyed.  It also seemed to take twice as long as any other bracket to complete because of all the travel.  Perhaps it's me and simply psychological, but as I've done the leveling thing numerous times in the past It's an opinion I've come to over a long period of time.  I hit level 50 Saturday morning and was already level 59 by Monday.  While I did complete several quests in the Hinterlands from level 50 to 52, most of my XP came strait from dungeons.  I completed other quests in Felwood, and Western Plague lands but all of those combined probably didn't even account for a single level.  And I find that just incredible.  LFG is, without a doubt, the best update to WoW Blizzard has done.  I simply loved it when it was introduced and I was running my two mains through it, but I have a much fuller appreciation of what it's really done for the game.

The Juxtaposition of the level 50 bracket is that you've gotten some incredible new abilities at level 50 if you put your talents in to take advantage of those options, so the play experience for your class is revitalized somewhat.  In the case of Feral (cat) I finally got Mangle, which is a huge upgrade over Claw.  And in proceeding levels I put talent points in to reduce the energy cost of it, so it became an even better option for me.  If you get Mangle at 50 you quickly see that if you were still using Rip, you won't any longer.  Rip should be an ability you use only in dungeon runs on bosses, or on elites while questing.  Instead you'll quickly find that most mobs will die with Mangle > Mangle > (Mangle >) FB.  So not only do you continue to have the lack of downtime while questing, but the speed at which you can kill mobs vastly increases.  It's a wonderful time, but truly at level 50 you're just on the cusp of the true experience that is to come.  As Resto I got tree form, which gives a nice little buff to my healing ability, but if you were leveling as Balance you got Moonkin form with it's crit buff.

As I said, I hit level 50 Saturday morning and by Monday evening I was level 59.  I didn't play on my Horde Druid Tuesday but I hit level 60 yesterday.  While I was still doing various quests in Western Plague lands up to level 58, I moved immediately into Hellfire Peninsula at level 58.  Incidentally I had forgotten just how much of an item inflation there was on Outland gear.  The stats from green quest items I started to pick up in Hellfire Peninsula were 2 to 3 times higher than gear I was wearing from Azeroth.  It's an artifact from Vanilla days when Blizzard needed to bring the masses that didn't have access to the restrictive system of raid content at the time, up to par with those who did.  That tremendous leap in itemization will undoubtedly be smoothed out in Cataclysm but since that's months away I found myself gleefully taking advantage of it.  I also found the questing in Hellfire Peninsula to be quite interesting.  I'd done it so many times on Alliance characters that there was a certain amount of novelty doing it now as Horde.  Especially on those quests which are diametrically opposed to the Alliance equivalents like the quests to destroy the cannons.  I've destroyed the four Horde catapults so many times that it was fun to have to now destroy the two Alliance cannons.  Hellfire Peninsula is the first place where you actually being to feel there is a real war, outside of the battle grounds.

I know from extensive prior experience that the leveling experience in Outlands is vastly better than in Azeroth.  Even without the LFG system I would expect a much quicker leveling experience.  As I recall on my last character I'd leveled through Outlands (my Paladin) I actually hit level 68 in Terrokar Forest, and I'm wondering right now if I'll even make it to Terrokar by level 68 this time around.  I'd already hit level 62 last night after only 6 or 7 quests completed in Hellfire Peninsula and an a number of  dungeon runs.  I still have 10-12 quests in my log from the first two quest hubs, and I know there are many other quests that I haven't even seen yet in the western half of Hellfire.  If I continue to work in the way I've been working, which is to quest while queued in LFG, I should be hitting Northrend this weekend for sure and should be heading there from either Terrokar Forest of Zangarmarsh