Thursday evening, a couple dozen quests into Uldum, I reached 85. Just a bit over three weeks. I think the new Cataclysm quest design gives a serious boost, which I really don’t mind. Because who wants to gather 2 or 3 quests sending you halfway across a zone in two different directions?
Osris? Buried in sand. Prince trying to help? 50 yards away, but no biggie, he’ll just wait for someone like you to come along and take care of it.
For the first week or two prime time queues on Blackrock were easily over two hours. This past week waits were less than 30 minutes and under 900 players long. Maybe everybody’s offline for the holidays. Maybe the free realm transfers to several possible targets made the difference. Either way, I slowed down my own leveling pace this last week. Even logged in, I was AFK plenty during 84. I spent two to three hours, about four nights per week. Roughly 30+ hours which included a lot of time on my professions, reading quest text, and exploring various niche sub-zones. A zerg could easily be half that but it’s just not my style.
80 to 85 as Holy really takes as long as you want it to take. Being able to fly, epic or not, will have more impact on the speed of leveling than using a ‘healing’ spec. Unlike Ret, however, killing mobs in any reasonable amount of time and without stopping to drink after three of them definitely requires the proper spec. Working thoroughly through the early zones also makes for a safer experience
I’ve run four of the available dungeons and the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with in any of them is the swarms of glass-cannon trash in The Stonecore. Mobs like Rock Borers, Imps, and Devout Followers. They’re easy to kill but will chew through you and your party surprisingly quickly if not handled properly. Borers, in particular, are nasty about patrolling their caverns and catching your group in the flank or rear. Don’t forget: run to the tank.
Now begins the task of raid gearing, which I’ll post on next.