Monday, April 6, 2009

The Lull and Saving the Day

Recently, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan spoke about how the quest design team goes about doing their job and how they use questing to control the flow of the game and the pace of the players. It was an interesting read and got me thinking about my current problem that I happen to be facing with Mål. You see, I've been leveling him at a pretty decent pace (he just ding'd 34) thanks to the fact that I've really fallen in love with the Retribution Paladin's playstyle and his amazing survivability. In fact, I like it almost as much as my prot warrior. That said, he's currently hanging out in Eastern Kingdoms, having a really hard time questing.

I'm not sure what is making this section of leveling so hard. Could it be the increase in leveling speed that came with 3.0? Or maybe it is just poor quest design left over from Vanillia WoW. It's possible they didn't quite get it right when designing Hillsbrad Foothills and the surrounding area. Or, it could be that this just happens to be a slow level-range anyway and always has been. I just don't remember having this much trouble leveling Yrovi, although that was a very long time ago. Heck, it's probably a combination of all of those.

I have solutions open to me, of course. The simplest is to hop over the big water to Kalimdor and do quests there that fall in my current level-range. There is a problem with that solution, though, and it's kept me from doing it. Desolace. I'd have to quest in Desolace at this stage, and, frankly, that isn't an option. I despise Desolace. I consider it worse than the Barrens at this point, and that's saying something. Granted, I have a mount this time through, but I still refuse. It's grey, ugly, and everything seems to center around those flea-ridden Centaurs. So, no hopping over to Kalimdor (Unless I absolutely must).

I could run instances. Scarlet Monastery, for example. The biggest issue with this solution is the problem of finding groups. It seems like there is no one around my level anymore, at least, not when I have time to run something. It's hilarious how many whispers I get to run something 5 seconds before I'm planning to log off. Still, it's an option and a very viable one if you get the group together. In fact, Mål ran Library and Armory last night, which is what ding'd him to 34 and got him some shoulders to wear when he hits 37. It was an excellent group, too, with a Shammy healer (one Mål has run with before, during a rather... unique 3-manned Shadowfang Keep run... maybe I'll write a little short-story about it on my other blog), a fantastic Pally tank who practically ran us all through with a blazing pace, a frost mage who laid down some mean blizzards, and a rogue with poisoned blades filling in the other DPS slots. You were all awesome! I did get to play hero at one point:
So our tank was great, pulling large groups we aoe'd down, holding aggro like it was nothing and things were going great. We blew through the Library Wing so fast, I couldn't believe it. We decided to hit the Armory as well, especially now that we all had our little red keys, so we jumped down into the bowels of the Monastery to face Herod. On the way, our tank overpulled by a few and our Shammy healer couldn't quite keep up with the heals. I was being a DPS and didn't think to pull back to provide extra healing support, but knowing my pathetic little heals, I proably wouldn't have helped much anyway. So the tank fell, along with our mage. Wipe was looking probable, so I thought fast, laid down a Consecrate, cast Righteous Defense, used my taunt to gather up the remaining four or so mobs (damn adds that like to come into the middle of a brawl) and did all I could to hold aggro while praying to the light that I survived. Healer saw what I was doing and started healing me (which gave me a bit more mana, thank goodness... I have a whole new respect for Prot Pallys and their mana needs), the rogue payed attention and burned down the mobs and I tanked with a vengeance! Needless to say, I helped save us from a total wipe and we continued the instance after a quick drink and rebuffing with no issues. It was freaking awesome to team up with honestly good players in a PuG.

So back to the problem I was talking about up there... leveling in the mid-30's is a drag, yo. You see, it's not that there aren't quests available to me. I have quite a few in my log. But they're red. Bright red. I don't mind doing orange quests, or at least trying them, as I've found that I can do most of them with no problems. As a ret pally, I can take stuff down that I never could have on Yrovi. Of course, having several heals available to me help tons. I have my spells, my statues from jewelcrafting, bandages... plus I wear heavy armor and can put up an aura to help with that, too. Heck, I was taking on raptors for their hearts in Arathi that would occasionally land a crushing blow. I had to bandage up after each fight, but I was doing okay. Nevertheless, the quests are a pain in the behind and more or less undoable if they're red. The added issue of travel through the various zones for all these options is like straw on the back of a camel, and we all know what happens with that.

Still, through all that, and my QQ, I haven't gotten bored. I may find it hard, or occasionaly aggravating, but I keep coming back and that just proves to me that Mål isn't just some passing fad for me (like my rogue, who I haven't touched in a month... maybe I should watch Blind again to get in the rogue-ish mood *wink*). He almost has the making of a Main in him, if I wasn't so into Yrovi. It's possible that by getting to 34 and a learning a new spell, those other quests that were red are orange now. Maybe I can knock a few more out of the way. I'll give him some time to rest up, get blue XP, and I'll come back to him for more. Once I hit level 40, though, I'll have to focus on him a bit to get his gear up to snuff. Replacing everything for plate is going to be interesting, especially since his gear is already showing some age now.

One way or another, I'll push through the Lull of the 30's and hit the 40's and find my groove. Maybe I'll even get to save the day again in the process. ;-)

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