My Void Elf Warlock has hit level 60!
The process has actually been pretty fun, with the combat feeling more interesting thanks to the increased health and combat length. Notably, so far, I don’t feel like the early process of leveling to 110 is all that much longer. It feels more interesting, in that you can complete zones, and pick and choose where you go.
I took my Void Elf through Wetlands, Arathi Highlands, Hinterlands, Western Plaguelands, Eastern Plaguelands, Burning Steppes, Searing Gorge, and Duskwood. I did use heirlooms, which helped the gearing process a smidge and also boosted experience. Had I not had these, I probably would have had to do one more zone, which likely would have been Northern Stranglethorn.
With all of the context out of the way, let’s talk about the process!
In the good, completing zone stories felt really good. It was the first time I completed these new zones, and while I did RaF leveling through many of the Cataclysm zones back in the day, I never completed a single zone’s story. This made the process feel very fresh, and is, I think, the true intent of adding Allied Races in the manner they have been. For many long-time WoW players, these zone revamps are new, and it underscores that we will be taking a bit of a break from the frantic pace of content delivery we had the rest of Legion.
In terms of gear progression, the quest rewards felt pretty nice. If I had not had heirlooms, I would have had gear options for those slots. Each zone seemingly gave me about a piece per slot, with the number of options slowly growing over time. Trinkets were minimal, but that mirrors the older leveling experience a lot and felt fine. Likewise, jewelery in general isn’t rewarded much until higher levels, which leads me to wonder just how Blizzard pulled it off, given that the gear progression mirrors the old school level brackets at which new slots were introduced despite the level scaling and ability to roam around everywhere.
Dungeon quests being woven into zone stories sometimes works, and often does not. Doing Arathi Highlands, I was given a breadcrumb quest to just go to Gnomeregan. Why? Who knows? Same thing went for Uldaman. But then, in Eastern Plaguelands, I got a quest for Stratholme, which made sense and fit.
Scaling works really well in this bracket of levels. The vanilla content scales up and down really smoothly, and I did some zones (the Plaguelands) lower than originally designed while doing Duskwood to hit 60, and both felt pretty good and just about right.
The loosening of transmog restrictions is great! My lightforged draenei priest at 20 has the Prophecy set and Benediction transmogged, and the void elf warlock at 60 is wearing the T10 Warlock set and the Damnation staff from Naxxramas. It’s cool and fun and we all know that the real endgame is transmog and looking cool, so that means you get more real endgame in your leveling. (I am super-serious about this and do not @ me on it)
The weridly anachronistic lore of the leveling experience now gets worse in a way, in which you can be a race recruited after the Argus campaign, fixing Azeroth in the wake of Cataclysm, then progressing to events in either Outland or Northrend which happened before, and then moving either back to Cataclysm or past it into Pandaria, then into Warlords of Draenor, a time-travelling-just-kidding alternate universe mythology, building a garrison for what is a campaign that was already complete before you joined the Alliance or Horde, and finally moving into the Legion content, the very events of which led to you joining the faction you are in…in the past…
But outside of that, it is worth applauding Blizzard for what has been done here – the majority of my gameplay this week has been leveling alts through low-level content with only heirlooms expediting the process – no RaF or level granting. At the same time, it suddenly gives real relevance to the content from Cataclysm that made everyone complain about wasted time – it only took 7 years and change, but now, the old-school players are experiencing that for the first time!
While my opinion may change by the end, so far, I really do enjoy the leveling process with these changes, and I think they go far in fixing the problems with drawing in new players.