Monday, May 2, 2011

Leveling at Light Speed

. . . even without trying.

Hikarinoko is now level 31 and dual-specc'd.  Wow, that was fast.

Now, for my purposes, it's not a problem that she is leveling fast.  Finally I have her dual-specc'd, so I can start to run instances as a healer, despite my lack of good healing gear.  (I've picked up what I can, but a good deal of her "healing" gear will still be Ret.  At lower levels, I don't think it matters quite as much.)  I never did pick up heirlooms, so I can only imagine how fast the process would be with them, as well.

But it set off another set of grumblings from my husband. Not that my husband was in any danger of returning to WoW, but when he heard about my paladin adventures, it clinched it. He told me he has absolutely no interest whatsoever in the game.  (Note to self: must cancel the billing on his account. The girls haven't been playing it for a while.)

"They've made it too easy," he groused. "There's no requirement to really meet and surpass a challenge when you are leveling. It makes lazy players."

It is true that I have not had any real difficulty playing Hikarinoko, although I have to wonder how much of that is due to the nature of the Ret pally, how much of that is due to the general ease of the encounters, and how much of that is due to the fact I've played this game for a while and so can figure things out more quickly.  I've been able to establish a reasonably effective rotation for her purposes, although it may not be the most efficient.  I've even hotkeyed her Ret abilities and am not clicking!  (I know there will be some people who will be utterly astounded.  Well, don't be too astounded.  Her heals are still bound in Vuhdo, so I'm clicking there.)  She kills things quickly, and she doesn't really even break a sweat if she gets a couple of adds.

That said, the redesign really has made some circumstances simpler.  For example, I find that some areas which used to be swarming with mobs, to the point where you just took a deep breath and started plowing through, now frequently have mobs spaced much farther apart, so if you're clever, you may be able to simply mount and with a little clever navigating, cross the area without having to kill your way across.  And several of the Duskwood quests have been redesigned so the player doesn't have to run back and forthe between the western part of the zone and Darkshire repeatedly.  Most quests are generally localized.  ("What?!" my husband said when I told him about this.  "That was part of what made it so epic--having to go back and forth.  They're catering to the lazy."  I didn't bother to remind him that when we used to do this zone, we had to run, as well, instead of riding mounts or even using cheetah form.)

And having a lot of what used to be strictly addon abilities built into the game also makes it simpler.  Want to know in what direction you need to travel to find your objective?  Check your map.  Unsure if the gnoll you're facing will count in your quest?  Mouse hover over and check the notes.  Are you getting close to an individual who is a quest objective?  It will show up on your mini-map as a skull.  Where are those fox droppings, anyway?  They're sparkling.  (Gotta wonder what those foxes were eating . . .)  None of this, of course, was included in the original game.  You had to search for the quest objectives, ask for help, look it up on Thottbot where others had posted notes about their experiences, and so forth.  (Can't begin to count the number of times I told people to look things up on Thottbot.)

The quest with which I have had the most trouble to date was the one in Redridge where she was required to plant charges in the towers, along with a member of Bravo Company.  One building was simple enough (distract guards, plant charges on ground floor), but no matter what she tried, she got killed at the other tower, which required her to climb the ramp to the top before placing the charges.  She finally overcame the situation by cheating . . . well, by using the mechanics of the game.  (She died, then she rezzed on the second floor of the tower, then she planted the charge behind the shelter at the top, where the guards could not see her, then returned to the second floor and jumped off where there were no guards.)

At any rate, it's pretty much smooth sailing.  And at least the story lines are interesting and still relatively new.

A newcomer to the game would most likely not realize or appreciate how easy leveling has become.  But a newcomer to the game is facing not 60 levels, but 85, so I can understand that having a slow, difficult leveling process could make the venture seem very daunting.  They'll get a bit of a skill check later in the game.  The trouble is that by then, they may have developed bad habits and simply expect everything to be easy . . . even when they finally decide to start raiding.  And that could cause problems for the rest of us.

But as I am leveling a paladin for the education and not necessarily for the challenge of it, I am glad I do not have to go through the long, horrible grinding process which was what Redridge or Duskwood used to be. I am glad I can see quick results. I tend to think the people who benefit most by this new leveling arrangement are those of us who have already suffered through Redridge three, four, or more times, and to whom the very idea of leveling a new character left a feeling like a rock in the stomach.

Now Hikarinoko will sit at 31 for a bit.  Tonight, I plan on finally taking a look at the new Troll 5-mans on Anachan, and then we'll be starting our raiding for the week.  I'm sure she'll be glad for the rest before starting to queue for healing roles.

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