When we started off with the instance group, we had to do a lot of the solo content. There were times where we had finished one instance and were not yet high enough level for the next.
And then came Patch 2.3, which sped up the leveling curve, so that 60 was much easier to obtain.
At that point we stopped having to do the solo content. All we did from that point forward were quests that were prerequisites for instances.
I noticed that, playing Vikund, I was actually missing a lot of the solo content. Ironic, yes, in a game known for allowing players to solo, but the experience from instances and related quests turned out to be enough… more than enough… to keep us all leveling up at a rapid clip.
But in my usual completionist mode, I wanted to see the solo portions of Azeroth as well as the instances.
It was obviously time to get an alt into action.
And, as usual, I had many to choose from.
My dwarf hunter, Tistann, was the most likely candidate, being close to 50. So I set him on the solo path, which gave me both a peek at content and the impact of the 2.3 experience changes.
Un’goro was, of course, a dream for Tistann, as his profession is leather worker, and there is a lot of stuff to skin there.
I found Tistann leveled quite quickly with the 2.3 patch changes. He was nearly a level and a half ahead of his pet at one point before Blizzard put out a supplementary patch to speed up pet leveling as well.
I remember people spending weeks in Ungoro Crater working on levels, but Tistann did not seem to be there very long. He then headed off to Azshara, both to follow a quest chain and to find the dragonscale leather working trainer. Azhara seemed to be pretty light on quests given the size of the zone, though I know there are a number of class and profession quests in the zone, so the typical solo player will only see a few at most.
NPCs in Winterspring end up sending you to the Eastern Plaguelands, and it was there that it happened:
The magic level:
Yes, Tistann hit 58
Of course, he had to finish up his current quest and head to the Outlands, just as Vikund had done before him.
I thought I would take a screen shot of the first thing you see when you go through the portal into the Outlands.
Once there, he headed out to Honor Hold and trained up his skinning and leather working skills, both of which were close to the pre-TBC cap of 300.
Then I ran him through a few of the initial quests until he picked up a new axe to play with.
I wanted to make his melee a bit more effective.
Thoughts on the 2.3 Patch Changes
WoW patch 2.3 has changed things more dramatically than I had initially thought.
First, the actually rate of level advancement is now quite astounding. Spending time following the quest paths, you can reasonably expect to get in a level a day with only a 90-120 minute commitment. And since the lions share of the experience comes from the now-more-lucrative quest rewards, your blue exp bar, your double exp for killing mobs, lasts a lot longer. With a full level and a half of stored up experience on Tistann I ran through four levels in as many days and still had nearly half a level of blue bar showing.
Second, if you want to keep levelling up solo, you should finish out the pre-TBC quests. I was rolling through some quests in the Eastern Plaguelands and Winterspring that were giving out 12-15K in experience. But when Tistann headed to the Outlands, quest rewards in experience dropped down to under 10K.
Yes, Tistann got some good equipment with those quests as well, something to not be scoffed at, but if your goal is maximum experience for time invested, it pays to finish out the quests in Azeroth. It was sort of odd to start doing higher level quests only to find that the experience reward for similar efforts was less. I imagine that will change at some point after Lich King comes out.
On the flip side, while they fixed the pet experience problem pretty quickly, with the increase in the speed of levelling, Blizzard may need to speed up (more so, if they have sped it up some already) the rate at which skills increase. Tistann’s gun skill has nearly kept up with his levels, never quite capping out until the next level has been achieved, but his lesser used skills, defense and 2h axes, his melee weapon of choice, have fallen far behind, even after efforts to concentrate on them for a few levels.
And, of course, the fact that quests benefit players the most from the changes in patch 2.3 means that those who like to grind for their levels rather than quest are left, at least a bit, out in the cold.