With my morning coffee Oluu got her blue tail into Hellfire Peninsula and thus ended my experiment of leveling 1-60.
So, how did it play out?
During this experiment I have tried to mimic the new player’s leveling experience to World of Warcraft. The rules were as follows:
1. No heirlooms. You wear only what you craft or get from quests and dungeons.
2. I performed every quest that I came across, except for those sending me to Eastern Kingdoms from Kalimdor. I also ignored the go-to-Barrens quest because the zone was not on my way. So I finished all the storylines in every next zone. If I didn’t get some of the “do X quests in a zone” achievements on my way, it’s because they never sent me to some parts of the zone. Mind you, I followed only NPC guidance.
3. I followed the Blizzard-planned route through Kalimdor. Blizzard-planned levels are in brackets – they didn’t fit my actual character levels.
Azuremyst Isle (1-10) -> Darkshore (10-20) -> Ashenvale (20-25) -> Stonetalon Mountains (25-30) -> Desolace (30-35) -> Feralas (35-40) -> Thousand Needles (40-45) -> Tanaris (45-50) -> Un’Goro (50-55) -> Silithus (55-60).
4. I did only vanilla dungeons, and I did them only once with few exceptions. Some of the groups were too toxic to finish a dungeon, so I had to run 2 or 3 dungeons once again to complete them. But that’s what a new player would do, he would like to see the last boss. My dungeon entrance level was like this: if a dungeon is for levels 25-35, I would take it at my 28 or 29 level, and so on. Also I tried to match them with the zones I’m questing in – immersing.
5. I have occasionally participated in pet battles which gave me some experience. I have leveled professions – for my monk these were Skinning and Leatherworking – and maxed them about 300 skill level (to continue in Outland). Got my Fishing to 130, my Cooking and First Aid over 300. So you see, it’s a new player’s approach again if he is interested in Professions.
6. I never paid attention to whether I logout in a tavern/city or in the wild. When I got an extra “rest” experience, it was because I put my Draenei to bed for roleplay reasons, or was too lazy to take a flight from Darnassus’ profession teachers across the continent to my leveling zone.
Leveling in Kalimdor is not tuned, that is very true. About your second leveling zone, that is 10-20, you are rapidly outgrowing it and the gap stays like this almost until the end.
The good thing about it is that you easily kill all the mobs, because they are 4-5 levels less than you. Also the random mobs in the wild don’t aggro at you that much when you are just passing by.
But it’s also a bad thing, because it never gives you any challenge.
The level gap starts to shrink in the southern zones. From Thousand Needles you are starting to get a real good quest loot which you actually wear. From Tanaris and especially Un’Goro you notice that mobs don’t ignore you anymore – because the level difference gap is already 1-2 levels above them, not 5. And Silithus – you come there at your level 56, which perfectly fits the 55-60 flag of the zone.
Strange thing is: when I finished Silithus questing, I was… at level 59. And very few introduction quests to Outland (you quest-report to 5 different NPCs on your arrival) made me 60!
Can we call it a leveling design success?
I think that this is hilarious. I never believed it when I saw it with my own eyes, because I have thought that I would come to Outland being 61 or 62. And I came there to make me 60 through welcome quests.
Anyways, there’s something to be seriously done with leveling pace. We shouldn’t outgrow the zones before we enter them. The quest rewards should be useful.
Conclusion: within 1-60 Kalimdor leveling, everything is fine through levels 1-15 and 50-60. The speed of getting experience of the 15-50 questing is not tuned well, it is not satisfying, and it must be fixed.
P.S. Oluu won’t continue this experiment – since 60, she’s just leveling through the most interesting storylines :)