After slowly meandering and herbing my way through Jade Forest, I’m finally level 86. I haven’t gotten nearly enough time to play lately, but the time I’ve spent has been leisurely and enjoyable. I still haven’t tried the new dungeons nor have I ventured out of Jade Forest other than to battle pets in Azeroth. But I kind of don’t want to leave Jade Forest — it’s so serene and immersive and enjoyable.
My favorite bits about the expansion have been the little touches. I love the music inside inns; it’s so lively and catchy. I love the quests where you actually drag something behind you, because it feels more plausible than everything instantly going into your backpacks. I love the cut scenes like the ones that pan up and down the giant statues to give the player a sense of scale and ‘smallness’ that I rarely feel in World of Warcraft. I love the different colors of all the trees. I enjoy the waterfalls and the beautiful vistas. I like all the flavor text everywhere that makes the characters likable and humorous. I love how I feel connected to the world, like a real part of what’s going on around me.
I’m saddened by posts out there in the blogosphere from people who talk about how ‘relieved’ they are to hit level 90. Some of them are even complaining at how full of dailies the end game currently is, and how they’re not looking forward to logging in every day to do them. I can’t help but wonder why these players seemed to feel so much pressure to speed through the leveling process? It’s been 2 years since we’ve had the opportunity to take our max level characters and have them be wideeyed newbies again with quests to discover and new foes to conquer. It’s rare they we get non-dungeon zones with new stories and people to meet. This *is* the expansion. I can’t help but wonder why people feel that they need to rush to 90 so they can experience the end game, when Blizzard’s best craftsmanship is clearly in the leveling process. But I understand that everyone plays this game in their own way, and that’s the wonder and enjoyment of MMOs. Although, I feel bad for the developers who have to cater to such a diverse set of demanding players 😉
My way of playing WoW is to try to experience as much as possible at a pace that allows me to stop and smell (and pick) every rose that I see. I know there will be years of time to spend at max level, so I’m taking my time to get there.