More of Outland and a New Mount

After doing some number-crunching it certainly seems as though there’s a slight dropoff in leveling speed in going from Old World Azeroth to Outland. But only slight. I’m figuring that my average gain per play session should be about 0.4 levels right now, as adjusted for no-play days, so I’m making another tweak to the leveling plan, which now calls for me to hit 70 by May 1st. I am using the leveling guide as a play aid but am trying to do as many of the quests as possible in Hellfire Peninsula, regardless of whether the guide is telling me to do them or not, and skipping only the most egregiously grindy collection quests and escort quests, which I dislike. So I ought to be somewhat ahead of where the guide thinks I should be, at least without taking rest XP into account.

Last night I ran another of Mrs. Ardwulf’s characters through the Stockades in an attempt to farm silk, but this didn’t work so well, only netting about a stack and a half. I’m trying to talk her into letting me cheese that character through Shadowfang Keep as well, but she has little desire to venture into the Undead zones. Before heading for Outland I assessed my finances to see how I could get the level 60 (epic) mount. Thanks to a massive loan of 330 gold from an extremely helpful guildie, and scraping gold together from my and Mrs. Ardwulf’s other characters, I put enough together to pull it off. I must remember to pay this generous loan back – the level 60 mount is really extremely nice.

I then headed for Outland and did some more questing there, exploring more of Hellfire Peninsula and making the somewhat tricky trek to Shattrath for the first time. That place is pretty neat, although it’s almost deserted now, what with all the high-level characters being in Northrend. Zangarmarsh and Terrokar Forest, through which I travelled, are both extremely scenic. The former in particular reminded me strongly of Greater Faydark in EQ2, except far better-looking from a graphic design standpoint.

Hellfire Peninsula gives me the willies, though. It looks terrific, but the odd slopes of the ground and the drops into limitless void trigger my sense of vertigo sometimes, which I have to think is entirely intentional. It’s brilliantly evocative, and gives me a real sense of being on a continent floating in empty space. I can’t wait to see the rest of the Outland zones, but I also admit that I’ll enjoy being back on the solid ground of Azeroth after it’s over.

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7 responses to “More of Outland and a New Mount

  1. I love both Zangarmarsh and Terokkar visually, especially in the context of an expansion that focuses on zones full of blasted rocks. It’s not that Wrath doesn’t have a bunch of frozen zones, but Blizzard somehow managed to make them somewhat visually distinct from each other (even if Icecrown is effectively a cold day in Mordor).

  2. If I could make one suggestion, regarding your leveling pace/goal, once you hit 68 move immediately to Northrend. I’ve only leveled on the Horde side, so I can’t suggest which of the two starter zones is the better one for Alliance, but I can say that not only will your leveling pace speed up — as everything is much closer together and gives better rewards — you’ll probably enjoy the story lines much more as well. They’ve done a nice job building stories. They’ve also expended the mechanics of the game again.

    Plus the gear will be so much better. Not quite the huge jump from the original game to Burning Crusade, but much better itemized. You’ll see a nice bump because you won’t be wearing Karazan or Heroic gear.

    Also remember, you only need to get your trade skills to 350 in the Oulands, not the 375 cap that it used to be. Once there you can start working in Northrend. I highly, highly recommend doing this — even if you want to stay in the Outlands to 70 for some reason. The skillups from 350 – 375 in Burning Crusade were a royal pain, requiring expensive and hard to acquire materials.

  3. I leveled up Blacksmithing recently on my Death Knight, I made myself get to 300 before I was allowed to continue leveling in the Outlands, and boy let me tell you that you’re going to have to mine quite a bit of Thorium. I did most of my mining/skilling up in Sithilus. Apparently the Plaguelands are a good place as well.

    I was level 61 by the time I moved to Hellfire though. 🙂

  4. I’m way behind in both crafting and gathering – around 165 in Blacksmithing and around 219 in Mining. I’m not sure I want to go back and grind that up right now – it seems to me it’d be easier to do at 80. Then again, I would have to grind up those skills without the benefit of doing it while working my way through the zones at the same time.

  5. Blacksmithing takes a lot of work to level, so I can fully understand you considering holding off on working it until later. One thing, however, I suggest you not ignore is Mining. Take the time and get that leveled up, storing the mats for later, as you’ll pass a huge number of nodes throughout the levels that you’ll regret not mining, and saving for later.

  6. *sigh* I suppose I’ll have to go backl and grind on Mithril and Thorium, then.

    The value of Blacksmithing at all is somewhat unclear to me. Certainly (and this is the highest I’ve gotten it so far) it’s not produced anyting worthwhile so far save for the occasional Rod for enchanting and skeleton keys. Much the same with Leatherworking in fact, which I’ve gotten up to 220 or so in the past. Does it become worthwhile at some point?

  7. You can make some very good/useful gear in Northrend for sure. My DK has made his weapon and helmet that he still uses even after running tons of heroics. Both are near the top in terms of best in slot, outside of some 25 man dungeon runs.

    You can also make belt buckles, to add another gem slot onto the belt, as well as self-only slots on your gloves and wrists. Two more ‘free’ slots for 16 str gems really helps and is nice.

    Northrend added some nice gear options throughout the 70s actually. I used the axe I made mid-70s for a while, plus the cobalt tank gear that you make early on is very useful.

    So, in the end I’d say yes it was a useful skill to level up — albeit a painful one in terms of grinding it. It helped that I just sucked it up and ground out tons of junk gear for skillups because my Priest is an enchanter. So I just blew it all up for mats for him.

    Again it’s going to take a lot of thorium to get up to OL levels. Might be worth it to put the questing on hold while you still get exp from the mobs where you mine thorium. I was serious about my guy, he was either 60.5 or 61 (blanking atm) when he finished up 300 BSing and moved on to the Outlands. All from grinding mobs while mining, plus doing the easy quests where I mined.