Three levels a day.
That was my goal.
Some days, that was easy. Some days, not.
The higher my levels climbed, the greater emphasis I placed on the XP gained on quests and the less on whatever gear I might get. My ability to get mobs down began to nosedive once I hit the mid-50s; I was wearing a green chestpiece that was a quest reward in Feralas, for example, and nothing I encountered in my singular pursuit of leveling changed that. I replaced my last piece of Deadmines clothing in the upper 40s (the cloak, in case you're curious) with another green that was a random drop. My daggers --the newest of which dropped from Amennar the Coldbringer in Razorfen Downs-- were in dire need of an upgrade, so I broke down and bought a cheap green mace on the Auction House that I could use in the low 50s to pair with a drop from Un'goro Crater*.
But I kept going.
|Blizzard's Ode to Legend of Zelda.|
And it felt disorienting that I would be in Western Plaguelands on Monday, seeing the levels of the Scourge in Andorhal and avoiding the place like it had the... Well, you know... And then two days later I'd be back to discover that it was I who who outleveled them.
|One of the few times that I've ever done|
this quest line. It gives a better understanding
of Ol' Emma and why she's in Stormwind.
I began Wednesday at L55, and after earning a quick ding from turning in quests, I settled into a long, demanding grind in the Plaguelands and Winterspring. Around midnight I got that second level, and the only thing that stood between me and L58 --the level everybody else goes to Outland-- was a lot of traveling and a lot of involved quests in WPL. I sighed and kept going.
Then the stars aligned.
"Anybody for Alas, Andorhal?" was the call out by a Warrior in Gen Chat.
Oh hell yes.
"Sure," I replied, "but if you can share the quest I'd appreciate it."
"Did you do the Watchtower quest?"
"Yes, but I didn't pick up Alas, Andorhal because I didn't think I'd find a group for it."
"lol yeah. I'll send you an invite."
So that is how I knocked out that nice, juicy quest.
And then a bit later, I knew about the one quest in WPL giver near the tower whose mobs drop the Crusader enchant, and so I headed out there only to discover the person who set up the group from earlier in the evening.
"Killing the Scarlets?" he asked.
So he sent me another invite, and we spent a half an hour killing mobs and turning in quests.
"How far are you?" he asked.
"I've got a couple of bars to L58 left, but I'm planning on going to Outland on L60."
"Because I want to experience TBC the way it was intended, and I was cheated out of that by being min-maxed through Hellfire when I got there in 2009."
"Oh cool. I get that."**
We turned in all the quests, and I was.... 60 XP short of a level.
I cursed a bit in group chat, but the other guy was perfectly happy to kill one last mob. And that was that.
The Warrior cheered, wished me luck in Outland when I got there, and split for the night.
And so did I.
Even though I wasn't going to Outland, I literally felt a weight taken off of my shoulders.
I could relax.
Although I suppose I could have left for Outlands right then, the person I'd be cheating was myself. So I stuck to my guns and said to myself that I'd grind out the last two levels on Thursday and then take Friday off.
"Two levels instead of three? Oh, I've got this," I said to myself as I logged for the night.
By noon on Thursday I was starting to get worried. The initial quests from Tirion Fordring's quest line weren't that hard on paper, but the drop rate for one of the quests was so abysmal that I felt I was never going to complete that questline. By early evening, however, I finally got those quests knocked out and rushed around Azeroth, completing some long outstanding quest runs to get to L59.
|It always pays to be polite to a powerful|
Water Elemental. Another quest line I rarely finished.
Then it was off to my least favorite zone in the Old World, Silithus.
The place doesn't exactly lend itself well to solo questing. Back in Vanilla Classic, a lot of the mobs were elites, and you had to have enough gear plus a high enough level to even solo some of the mobs, and others.... Well, let's just say I never bothered with a lot of the Silithus quests.
This time, however, I had an ace in the hole.
A friend of mine had just brought her Bear tank to Outland, but was having difficulty killing mobs there. She needed a leveling buddy.
And guess who was sitting at L59.
I didn't mind being a leveling buddy, since it makes the time pass by more enjoyably, but I was kind of aware of my lack of gear. "My gear is made of cardboard and held together with baling wire," is how I've described it before.
"We'll work on that," I was told.***
So she hopped back to the Old World, headed over to Silithus, and met me while I was killing Sand Dredgers.
Almost immediately she handed me a piece of Blue gear, some Ravager Dogs and.... a fish.
"You gave me a gray fish?" I asked.
I could almost hear her snort in reply. "Yes, you can vendor it for 6 gold."
My jaw dropped. That would be the equivalent of about 4-5 good vendored items in the Old World. And then I saw the rejuvenation rate from the Ravager Dogs, as well as the buff.
"Is Outland Texas or something? They say 'Everything is bigger in Texas'..."
She laughed. "I like Texas."
"Thank you, but I don't know what to say. Keep this up and you're going to make an old man cry."
We continued to kill mobs. "Did you pick up this elite quest?" she asked when we were down south.
"Well, that was silly."
I rolled my eyes, realizing I was implying her tanking skills weren't up to the task. "I know that now."
The next hour or two passed by pleasantly, because if you're in Silithus, soloing things, saying the word "pleasant" would get your head examined.
And the banter was totally worth it.
"We need to get you a fast mount in the worst sort of way," she said. "Do you regret getting it on Card?"
"No, because she got it as the Alterac Valley rep reward, so it was cheap."
"We may have to do that for Brig."
"Uh... That's a long rep grind. I'm sorry I'm so poor in game."
"We'll get that corrected."
"Well, I suppose that I could sell weed."
We zeroed in on the quests that were a) easily doable and b) would net the most XP per turn in. Once we completed a bunch that seemed like it would be enough, we headed back to Cenarion Hold and she hopped onto her main, so that she could congratulate me on reaching L60.
I turned the quests in and....
"I'm half a bar short," I sighed. "I'll go do the other quest in NW of the zone."
"You need a hand with that?"
"No, I can handle that one. I'll let you know when I'm on the way back."
"And if you get into a dungeon run, that's fine too."
I rode up to the northwest corner of Silithus, known more colloquially as the place you go to finish the Thunderfury quest line, and set about picking up Twilight tablets. There were a ton more air elementals nearby, as I guess the invasion portion of Silithus --the one you rarely saw while Silithus was being used for AQ20/AQ40 as well as regular farming-- was in full swing. But hey, I didn't get this far without knowing when to run like hell.
"I'm on my way back," I told her, and bolted for the Hold.
At one point I looked behind me and saw a huge trail of air elementals following behind me, and I began to laugh. Then I got knocked off my mount by a Silithd.
Oh shit, I thought, but switched to Ghost Wolf and kept on going.
"Don't die here, don't die here, don't die here...."
My health bar kept going down.
"MOVE FASTER! MOVE FASTER!! I AM NOT GOING TO BE EMBARRASSED BY DYING ON MY LAST QUEST!!!"
"Dad, are you okay?" my oldest asked, coming over.
"Yeah yeah yeah," I replied in a calmer tone once the air elementals finally gave up the chase with me sitting on about 1/4 to 1/3 health left. "I'm okay. It's that it's almost all done."
"Oh, you're about to ding? Cool!" She sat down in the chair next to me.
I reached Cenarion Hold and made it to the quest giver. "I'm here now," I told my questing buddy. "Ready?"
I turned in the quest and dinged.
|I was slow to do a screencap of the ding itself.|
I was a bit loopy at the time as well as relieved.
"It's done! At long last!!" I exclaimed to my leveling buddy.
"Yay Dad!" my daughter exclaimed, hugging me.
Guild chat erupted with congratulations.
"Way to go Brig!"
"Thanks," I replied multiple times, then took a deep breath. "And now I'm gonna go blow my gold on training, and.... go to bed."
As I alluded to before, there were a few people who reached out to check on me while I was mired in the worst of this leveling hell. For those people, a big thank you. You kept me going. For those who came out and were my leveling buddy, especially when I needed it most, thank you. For those in our group who crossed the line ahead of me yet kept in contact to keep me going, thank you.
A special thank you to my leveling buddy on Thursday. Were it not for her, I'd have never have crossed the finish line when I did. When it was all finally over and the kids had let me alone, I might have cried a few tears of relief. (It could have been someone cutting onions, but you never know.)
And for those leveling Shamans for the raid still out there, I see you and I'm gonna help you get across the line too.
I owe you that much.
*Or was it Tanaris? It all blends together after a while.
**That's the usual reaction I've gotten when I bring up my reasons why I wanted to delay my trip to Outland until L60: the initial puzzlement, followed by the "Oh!" and "How cool!" moments. Typically followed by "Hey, have fun when you get there!" But for some reason, a minority of people can't not min-max things, I suppose.
***Again, these are approximate conversations. I didn't record the whole thing, mind you, so I put what I could remember. I was a bit loopy at the time.
EtA: Corrected 'stupid' with 'silly'. I was informed by the questing buddy I got that part wrong.