Last week I was keen to get through the Dark Portal and into The Burning Crusade the moment it was available.
I made it through with the first rush, got to Honor Hold, and even completed a couple of quests. I logged in my other level 60s and got them through the portal a bit later, had them upgrade their trade and gathering skills and had a bit of a look around.
I was even there when somebody dragged a Fel Reaver into Honor Hold.
After which I went back to playing my druid in the vanilla content.
Part of that was because Hellfire Peninsula was quite crowded. It wasn’t that people were being mean. Some were being quite nice. A mage came by and offered me some conjured food and water at one point.
But even when people are trying to be pleasant, crowds do make for competition over mobs and objectives and such well beyond my tolerance at times. Meanwhile, back in Azeroth, things were relatively quiet… unless you were working on a harvesting trade skill… in that case it was also a bit trying.
More than that, however, I was having fun with my druid.
Having just done many of these quests recently… and with my pally, which made them all the more excruciating at times… running through them again with knowledge, stealth, and the improved quest experience have made this oddly joyful.
Since the pre-patch I have managed to move him from level 36 to level 52 without feeling like I have had to dedicate myself to the task.
Part of that was the exp changes. The amount of exp needed to get from 30 to 60 was reduced by 15% and the amount of exp given for quest turn ins was boosted. That helped smooth out the somewhat rough ride from 35 to 60.
The fact that a pile of quests got added into the game in and around Theremore also gave a needed boost to the previous quest gap around level 40. But, in addition to that, a number of quests that required you to defeat elite mobs had those mobs changed to normal mobs, turning those into quests one could solo. So Overseer Maltorus, who is at the intersection of two quests in Searing Gorge, can now be handled without needing to form a group.
Quests are now appropriately marked as “group” when they need more than one player, which was not always the case. Maltorus there was kind of a surprise elite once you made your way to him, as the quest didn’t warn you about his elite status before.
And quests are a bit easier to find. Quest givers show up on the mini map and quest turn ins, even inanimate objects, now have the big question mark above them.
That actually helps a lot more than you might think. I especially recall a quest in Feralas where you had to find a lost satchel in a gnoll camp and the quest description described it as being in a shaft of sunlight, which was true if you happened upon it at exactly the right angle. But now it has the big question mark on it, so you can focus on clearing the gnolls to get to it without wandering past.
Basically, after having done it “the hard way” twice through with a hunter and a paladin, making a post patch run feels light and fun… though, as I said, having stealth helps too. I simply avoid a lot of trouble. So my druid is 52 and is just finishing off Tanaris and the Hinterlands, after which he will turn to Un’Goro Crater.
I will probably keep running with the druid up to 60 before I really start focusing on Outland. Outland will wait for me, though I keep seeing reminders that it is there.
If you found that the grind of old school vanilla was getting you down, but you think Outland might appeal, the path there is much smoother. It isn’t “do it in a weekend” quick, the way the path to 50 is in retail WoW is, but it is much more friendly than it was before.