When I journeyed last across the lands of Azeroth, I was most concerned about progression. At the time I was putting in maybe 15 hours a week, and making pretty good progress, maybe averaging a level every other day (in the 30-50 range.) This is reasonable progress, I think – not speed leveling, but solid, sustained progression, which I kept up for a very solid month. Alas, last October’s work trip to Mississippi took what steam I had away from WoW, and when I came back we were on the very cusp of WAR’s release, so that was where my interest took me.
Now, picking things back up, I find that the Paladin class abilities have been pretty radically revamped, and a major new feature has been added to the game in the form of acheivements. I knew about both of these going in, of course, but the fact is that I at least intend to play more casually now, and have a little less desire to reach the level cap in a short time, and a little more to sit back and enjoy the content at a leisurely pace.
I was actually a little suprised to find that all of my characters on Kirin Tor were as high a level as they are (the lowest at 12, as mentioned in the earlier post.) Maximal enjoyment of the content implies characters in a variety of level ranges, and the structure of the WoW achievements suggests that getting them will be more fun done as you go rather than going back to clean them up after hitting a high level, because them you’re just farming them.
I and others have complained that WoW seems to gear all of its new content for the level cap players rather than incoming new players or existing players who want to play lower-level alts, and that level speeding cheapens the pre-cap game. Both of which are doubly discouraging because even for cap characters new content is introduced relatively slowly.
While I think this is still true, I think that the dungeon acheivements specifically might encourage people to keep low and mid-level characters in play to run that content. Veteran players with lowbie characters mean more population for new players to interact with at the levels they’re going to spend a lot of time in as they learn the game, before they become conviced that level-cap play is for some reason the only valid activity.
Now, I’d like a level cap character – there’s a lot of cool stuff to be done at and near the cap, and there will assuredly be some cap-level events (like the Shattered Sun Offensive that sounded like so much fun,) that I would love to see. You know, I like to gain levels as much as the next guy, but I’m tired of cap-chasing. So I’m going to make some effort to push upward with my main, but I’m also going to try to keep some characters in the lower level ranges as well.
Now the question arises of what main to push upward with. The Paladin, Vaktor, is the farthest along at level 45 – everybody else is under 20. But starting from, say, 16 (my Hunter) or 18 (my Mage) won’t set me back all that far. The issue is that I’m not yet sure whhether or not I will actually like playing the neo-Paladin or not. Maybe, but I was more confused than anyting else by the new ability mix last night. One of the reasons I liked the class before was that playing it was a little more interactive than most other WoW classes – I was always dropping seals and changing auras, and dropping Hammer of Justice on unrighteous Murloc ass. That seems to have been largely taken away, and the class is now much more engage-and-hammer until somebody drops. On the one hand, I want laid back – but on the other I don’t know that I will enjoy the redesigned Paladin, or even if I am misinterpreting his abilities.
I do know that I did not enjoy PvP with the Paladin before, and he’s no less melee-oriented now, so that probably won’t change. It’s interesting that I find PvP with a melee DPS unfun in WoW but enjoy it tremendously in WAR. Maybe I’m underrating the Paladin’s healing abilities, too.
On a side note, to address Hudson’s comment on the last post, I know that The Blood Elf starting zones are the fastest, and the Draenei are the second fastest. But I really don’t have an issue with most of the 1-10 zones, except Mulgore, which I always find nigh-unbearable. But I already have both of my Tauren characters out of there (the tauren are my favorite race despite the fact that I hate their starting zone so much,) and I’ve never had an issue starting characters in Durotar or Elwynn Forest, for example. But at any rate 1-12 or so goes really fast anyway, and once you’re past 20 you start mixing zones up anyway.