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.