Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adding a Challenge to Leveling

I was reading a post from Tobold today and after thinking about that and talking to my wife a bit, I noticed a trend in WotLK. I mentioned earlier how I'm a bit burned out playing my rogue through the same zones I've done multiple times before. The same can apply to my Warlock and to a lesser extent my druid. I'm mostly leveling my druid through PvP and healing the occasional instance.

Thinking back, when leveling most of my characters, I've hit this road block around 74-75 every time except for on my hunter who was my first character to 80. Why? Well Blizzard had a great idea about adding in multiple leveling paths in WotLK. You had two starting zones, Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra, which if you did only one could get you from 68 to 71/72 or from 70 to 73.

From there you head into Dragonblight. Dragonblight is interesting because it takes quest lines from both zones and streamlines them into an obvious progression through the next two zones. You start in the Walrus people harbor thing which connects the two zones, which leads you to stars rest, which leads you to Wintergarde keep. Which then sends you to grizzly hills which sends you to Zul'Drak. Now you can of course choose not to follow the quest lines exactly. You can spend as much time in any of the zones that you want or even head back to the starting zone that you skipped over. In fact I did that on my hunter, starting in howling fjord and then going to Borean Tundra.

In Dragonblight I did the Wintergarde and Wrathgate quest lines and the goblin quest hub to the north of the zone. After that I was 76 and headed to Sholazar.

My other Characters however, would go through dragonblight/grizzly hills or Dragonblight/Zuldrak and lastly even grizzly hills/Zuldrak. But it was always these same zones. With the same quests. And absolutely zero challenge. My challenge came in soloing as many of the group quests as possible but even then, there are only around 3 or 4 of these per zone.

Blah Blah Blah

Ok I have a point in all of this. You see WotLK has a natural progression that gets really old really fast. After you have done the quests the first time there is nothing new to gain from doing them again aside from experience. There are two starting zones and two 80 zones and one that you can't start till 76. Not being able to start Storm Peaks and Icecrown made a lot of sense.... when you couldn't fly before 77. Sholazar being a lvl 76-78 zone never made any sense to me though. You don't need a flying mount for any of the quests (save a few in the northern part) and you can easily access the zone from the south.

In Vanilla WoW you often times would end up accepting quests that were designed for 4+ levels higher then you. Those quests were designated in red text. In WotLK I can't think of one quest you can pick up that is red. All of the quests are gated for the appropriate level... which effectively means you can't skip ahead of your level to quest.

My friend Kobeck is leveling a Warlock horde side and he remarked that he always seems to be stuck with red and orange quests. You know what? He is never without a challenge as a result of this. Why can't we do the same thing in WotLK? I've done every quest in Northrend at least once, so there is no challenge in the actual quest... why can't I try these quests at a lower level?

Gasp??? You mean I might miss an orange mob? Oh no! That mob won't die in 3 casts! You mean I have to attack a mob from stealth instead of just running up to it and stabbing it in the eye???

Tobold sort of said that he thought experience gain for taking on tougher challenges should be rewarded. I agree. But you know what? I don't care about leveling faster I just want to have a little bit of a challenge. So let me do the quests earlier and keep the experience the same and we will call it even.

I think you should be able to take Sholazar quests at 74, Stormpeaks at 76, and Icecrown can stay the same... maybe that way I will actually get to do some of the Icecrown quests while leveling instead of hitting 80 doing Sons of Hodir dailies...

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