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10:04am on Monday, 2nd February, 2009:



It's amazing what being angry at a computer game can do. Smarting from the unjustness of Football Manager 2009's decision to rob me of four hard-fought matches, I switched back to WoW and ground up my third level 80:

It's Mareigh, my paladin.

I'd been playing her a little before when I was levelling Leine and Polly, in the hope that as a holy-spec pally she might be more attractive to PUGs (she wasn't), so she was actually around level 74 when I started — I didn't go up all 10 levels in 4 days.

This time round, I didn't skip any zones and I completed all the non-instance quests in each one. I went in the order: Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Howling Fjord, Grizzly Hills, Zul'Drak, finally reaching 80 soon after reaching Sholazar Basin with some quest about killing okapis that look like giraffes. The fact that I was mainly doing quests below my level meant I only got around 75% of the experience points for killing stuff, but I could do it relentlessly without breaking to recover lost health or mana, and I could finish the fights quite quickly (yes, as a holy pally — two or three holy shocks plus a hammer of wrath and they don't get up again, plus I can take them on three or four at a time and consecrate them down too). If I'd really wanted to zoom through, I'd have skipped those quests that put up any resistance (such as the ones asking for quest objects that drop so infrequently that you have to kill every possible creature that could drop them three times over to get them); a faster flying mount would have made it easier from level 77 up, too.

Overall, I have to say that 70-80 was much less of a pain than 60-70, probably because it was so much easier. Some of the zones have obviously had a lot of thought put into them, although the key ones (Dragonblight and Icecrown) probably aren't as good as Blizzard thinks they are. Likewise, the starting zones, Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord, are mixed bags: the former starts strong but gets weaker; the latter starts off unimpressively but picks up well in the middle. From a design point of view, I prefer Zul'Drak because of the way it rolls forward (I would guess that players wouldn't necessarily agree with me there, though) and Storm Peaks because its (borrowed) narrative is so well done.

Of the other zones, Sholazar Basin is a nice attempt at a circular advancement path, but there are too many lazy quests there for my liking; it may be that I was put off by the fact that I was expecting to see a mangrove swamp and an avalanche in the same zone in WotLK, and was disappointed to discover in Sholazar Basin that I was correct. Still, it does have my favourite line from the whole expansion: "No dead rhino tells Hemet Nesingwary where and what he can hunt.". Grizzly Hills, well, I suppose it's growing on me, my having run through it three times now, but the starting quests are just so poor that the splendid Hour of the Warg quest line can't save it. Crystalsong Forest is a nothing zone, I haven't looked at Wintergrasp because it's packed with twinked out PvPers, and Dalaran, while pretty, is so full of people that I regularly get lagged out of it.

Right, I think I'm all set to attempt my rescue of York City from the Conference League once again.

PS: Is it my imagination, or do these legplates come with a built-in codpiece?

Not really right for a female paladin, I think...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).