That’s been my experience so far. At this point I am halfway through 84 and nearly finished questing through Deepholm. Mining is at 525, Engineering at 485, and I’ve still only upgraded my neck.
Relative to Wrath, this feels about right for only half the levels. Even if Blizzard said they wanted 80-85 to take as long as 70-80 it seems like the changes to zones and questing have had significant impact in speeding things along. Travel time (with epic flight & Crusader Aura) is never very long and completing goals isn’t very difficult (even on a Holy DPS budget). This keeps me progressing well even with background activities and playing casually.
On the one hand, I’ve found very few direct upgrades and little need to look for them. On the other, I’ll hit 85 slightly behind the gear curve. At least the extra faction reputations and 4k Justice Points should give me a jump start.
I still only have the first two instances, once each, under my belt. Attempting to enter a Random last week at 84 produced a vague “ineligible” error message. It turns out I hadn’t scouted any other new dungeon entrances. While I appreciate the mechanic, it would be really nice if the error message was more specific about the real issue. This table is very helpful, after the fact.
Reaching 525 Mining happened by accident. I admit I’ve done a tiny amount of ore farming and been rather aggressive while questing, but it took a lot less time than expected. I only half-filled my Mammoth Mining Bag twice, maybe three times overall.
Engineering is going up at a decent rate and I really appreciate the 5-point recipes. I just made two new Toolboxes for both bag and bank slots and it doesn’t look like I’ll run into the Wrath situation of making 5 to 10 extra trinkets and Army Knives just to reach max level. I hope to craft zee gogglez shortly after reaching 85.
In raiding news, my guild has been in 10mans for a couple weeks. I know I’m not forgotten as I’m still being spammed with invites. Plus, I get to hear the dirt on bad PuG healers in the run. I’m purposely avoiding Vent for now, so I can’t tell if there’s too much fire-standing, but I am looking forward to getting back into it.
Right now I’m about halfway through 82 and nearly done in Vashj’ir. I plan to head to Hyjal next, while the quests and kills are still worth something to me, so I can get going on building reputation for the Arcanum.
My pace has been restricted, first, by outside commitments. Secondly, I’ve been unable to access the game on demand. In case you haven’t heard, “Blackrock is Full.” My queue position tonight was the best it’s been all week: 1,743. Wait times last week were 2.5 hours when I queued around 2,800. Plus I’ve been bad at pre-logging earlier in the evening. Free realm transfers from Blackrock to Nazjatar or Garithos end on 12/22, so dropping about 1,000 initial spots in the queue could be a good sign for the future.
I’ve enjoyed questing so much that I haven’t visited a dungeon since my first visit to Blackrock Caverns on the night of release. The Tier 10 gear has been holding up well enough, with no visible rust or upgrades, but I expect to find some new items as soon as I spend some more time in instances.
I’m using a half-gimped Blazing Light/Denounce build which is working much better for solo questing. Exorcism spam really puts a dent in your mana without the proper spec! I’ll need to spend a lot more time dungeon grinding, especially after 83 and Holy Radiance, to get more experience healing.
At this rate, I figure I’ll be 85 after 3 weeks. This next week should see me to 84 and then I’ll have at least a week to dig up 9+ million xp for 85.
Update: Entering the queue at 303 sure is nice! It would, however, be a whole lot nicer if it weren’t happening at 1:20AM server time.
I’ve been through the previous expansions so not much of this was new to me. I did, however, learn a couple things. Picking up on Janyaa’s post:
- Digital download is officially awesome. I cannot remember where my original Warcraft CDs are located, but since the whole client is digitally downloadable I do not care. Digital distribution of this expansion was the next logical and welcome step.
- Aside from the expected slow performance, setup and login went smoothly. Even the occasional disconnects caused very few problems.
- My first goal is to level at a comfortable pace. 10 levels in Wrath took only two very casual months as Holy. I expect 85 won’t take me quite at long.
- I left off in Vashj’ir where I’ll continue leveling just as soon as I can get back in.
- I don’t have any particular interest in either of the new races. I created a new Dwarf Shaman recently, but it will be noteworthy if any of my alts make it to level 20.
- I prefer questing to level but I’m sure I’ll run dungeons very often because the Dungeon Finder makes it so easy, it’s decent XP, and it will probably be less stressful than dealing with a PvP environment.
- I’ve replaced no gear yet, but at least two of the blue drops from Blackrock Caverns were stacked with Mastery and could lead to testing a different gear set.
- After getting to work on Wednesday I made a note to have different plans for the next release.
- I caved to pressure the week before release and redid my secondary spec as Prot for some dungeon tanking. I don’t expect to touch it again until 85. Holy all the way!
- My favorite part so far is the shiny newness. The joy of discovery is a wonderful thing.
What else have I learned?
- “Interact with target” is key-bindable. If it weren’t for all the lag in loading 100+ characters on/around the flight trainer I would have made it out of Orgimmar at least 30 minutes earlier.
- I need to leave my extra gear sets in the bank.
- I need to get better about logging in 2 or 3 hours before playing.
The three hours I did spend playing after launch were still a lot of fun. I miss questing, exploring, and even mining. Blackrock Caverns with a 264/277 geared group was certainly on the easy side, but it was a lot of fun going in blind and we had one near-wipe.
So now I have plenty of time to take in the trash barrels, do some dishes, watch some Day, catch up on The Walking Dead, and maybe play a little Star Battle.