With little to do when I’m not raiding, I’ve picked up another long-forgotten alt. Ages ago, I had leveled a mage to 23, then let him sit. At that time, I had three level 80 toons and I swore that I would never level another alt because I was tired of doing the same quests over and over again.
The new Dungeon Finder has completely changed that.
I’ve got him wearing two pieces of heirloom gear for a 20% boost in xp from killing mobs. With that bonus, questing cannot even come close to instancing as far as xp/hour. At level 25 I got into a pug for Razorfen Kraul. I started the run having just barely dinged 25. I ended the run 20% of the way through level 26. A second run of Razorfen Kraul got me halfway through level 27. Cleaning up a few quests in my log got me to 28. Three levels in about 3 hours online. Wow.
I expect that I will level him almost entirely in instances. For me, that’s perfect since I have already done most of the available quests multiple times.
For a player new to WoW, this is a COMPLETELY different game than the one I played. When I leveled in vanilla WoW questing was the way to go. I ran each instance once, a few twice, to complete the quests that brought you there. I spent a great deal of my playtime running from place to place between quest hubs (no mount until level 40!). Even the times that I ran instances required the time spent getting there, assembling the group, and then running back when finished.
For a new player today, once he gets high enough to do Wailing Caverns/Deadmines/Raging Chasm/Shadowfang Keep he can level without ever leaving his home city. Sit at the auction house, pop into the dungeon, pop back to the AH when done. And forget doing quests for gear rewards – the Satchel of Helpful Goods reward from the pug gives nice blue items.
I’m not judging whether this is good or bad. I’m just pointing out that this is not even remotely like the game I played 5 years ago. I really liked the immersion that old WoW gave. If I started the game today, I’m not sure how I would react, or if it would suck me in the way it did then.
From the point of view of a mage, this changes the leveling game completely for clothies. One of my biggest frustrations when solo leveling the mage was my terrible squishiness. If I let the mob get close to me I was in trouble, and accidentally aggroing two or three was certain doom. Now, in instances, I have a tank to protect me and healer to heal me and my squishiness is a non-factor. This is a HUGE change in the leveling experience for mages.
It will be interesting to see in few months what the new players are like when they reach the level cap. For us grizzled veterans, we we forced to learn our classes thoroughly through the long leveling process. Sometime during BC and into WotLK, things changed so you could powerlevel a toon through only soloing, and not really learn to play it in a group. Nowadays, new players can do nothing but instances the whole way up. Will they be better prepared for the endgame? Time will tell.