I mentioned in my Wrath Classic launch post that I logged on during my lunch and found that the 50% xp buff was still active, so went and played my Death Knight some more, getting him a half a level closer to Northrend.
I am very glad I did that, because you know what made Outland tolerable during the run up to Wrath Classic? That 50% xp buff.
And believe me, I felt its absence once Northrend opened. When that happened I had two characters already to level 68 and able to start on their frozen adventure. But I also had two character that fell short, my druid who was securely into 67 and my Death Knight who was just shy of 66.
For whatever reasons I was determined to get all four characters up into Wrath Classic. That was my commitment to the Lich King.
So it was back to Outland with those two characters.
I am trying not to over emphasize the struggle here. It is, after all, just Outland. Literally millions of people have been through these quests and zones. Objectively speaking, the bar is not really that high.
Subjectively however… whooo boy!
The the xp boost gone I could see and feel the slow down in my progress. Those quest turn ins that were worth almost a whole chicklet of your exp bar, they dropped from about 16K to 11K in rewards.
Also, I had been pushing both of my remaining characters through the content, so that when they had some blue bar… double xp for mob kills… that quickly ran out.
Then there is the fact that I ran them both out of content in Nagrand, which is such a nice and happy zone to play in, which meant they were headed to the Blade’s Edge Mountains.
The only mitigating factor there is that at least I had splurged for flying for both of them. That zone is designed as a maze so you cannot fly you spend a LOT of time running back and forth and going up this ramp, down through that tunnel, across the bridge over there, and along the winding path between spiky outcroppings.
At some point I will likely write a post ranking the zones of Outland, and The Blade’s Edge Mountains will get what is coming to them. Nagrand will be on top. That will be the easy choice. There will be a bit of a fight for second place. And then it will be the struggle to stay out of last place. Look for that post some day.
Finally, there is the context of all of this, which was the desire just to get to Northrend and be done with Outland.
All of which threatened to turn me into a whiny six year old in the back seat of the car on a trip asking constantly, “Are we there yet? When are we going to get there? Why aren’t we there yet?”
My druid got through it fairly quickly. He had gone through almost all of Nagrand with the xp bonus in play, so only had to play through the first two quest hubs in the Blade’s Edge Mountains before he hit 68 and was able to sail to Northrend.
My DK however… He had done some of Nagrand before the bonus went away, but finished it up after it was gone, leaving him having to go deep into the Blade’s Edge Mountains.
I will say that the quest chain that throws you around the zone from Toshley’s station is a pretty cute idea… so long as you do it at exactly the right time. One of the interesting/odd aspects of TBC as an expansion is that you can see, usually after the fact, that certain quests were meant to be done along side other ones, or in conjunction with another series… and that it is completely possible, if not totally likely, that your typical obsessive quest finishing MMO player will screw that up.
And I am that typical player. But, as I said, flying helped mitigate that issue.
I ended up flying all over. Just to repeat yet again, without flying it would have been quite a walk. After quite a bit of back and forth. It was enough that when my DK hit 67 I took the boat to Northrend just to see if I could get any quests. But no, they were not talking to anybody under level 68.
I even toyed with the idea of just grinding mobs on the beach in Borean Tundra.
But without any blue bar that was going to be a grind on its own. So I went back and ran from Death’s Door to Raven’s Wood and places in between until I finally turned in a quest on a bridge in the middle of somewhere and hit level 68.
Then I got on my mount, hit the nearest flight point, and headed to Shattrath to take the portal to Stormwind so I could make it back to Borean Tundra. Along the way I deleted all the Outland quests from my journal, which ended up showing me something I cannot recall seeing before.
When your quest log is empty it has little cobwebs on it. When has my quest log ever been empty in the last 16 years except when starting a fresh character… and usually the first thing you do is grab a quest.
So that was it. I managed to get my fourth character to level 68 and into Northrend. Now I just have to get on my way to finding out what the Lich King is up to.