World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor | The Joke That Is Leveling

I wanted to withhold my thoughts on leveling in Warlords of Draenor until I had enough time to mull it over. My experiences with Wrath of the Lich KingCataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria all had one thing in common: nearly tiresome.

While the quality of experiencing the lands of Northrend, Hyjal, and Pandaria for the first time were beyond enjoyable, I couldn’t help but feel exhausted after reaching levels 80, 85, and 90. It took a lot of work and dedication to make it to the top. Even the previous two expansions, which only raised the level cap by five levels as piece, felt tiresome at first.

The exact opposite is true in Warlords of Draenor. Leveling is beyond a joke. Which is a bit of a shame because this is an experience I actually enjoyed. There’s a larger focus on narrative with these quests, something we’ve seen hints at in both Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, but with Warlords of Draenor it felt more impactful. We see our enemy, members of the Iron Horde. We’re fighting alongside characters like Durotan and Drek’Thar. There are important characters in Warcraft lore that we’re interacting with and they never overstay their welcome. Wrath of the Lich King had a tendency to throw Arthas around all willy-nilly and trivialize his final appearance. Instead of “hey, that’s that super bad dude” during the Icecrown Citadel raid, we went “hey, that’s that guy I saw all the time while questing. He’s pretty short.” Thus far, the reach of Gul’dan, Grom Hellscream, and others have been felt without their constant presence, an important score for the expansion’s narrative.

As for the actual quests, there isn’t anything too innovative on this front. Your typical MMO-style quests are back whether you love them or hate them, but things seem a bit more streamlined. You’re not necessarily being tasked to kill endless amounts of NPCs or loot dozens upon dozens of items. While these quests still exist, they’re not as tiresome plentiful as they might have been in the past. In addition, a new feature has helped break out the leveling monotony that is constantly grinding out quests. If you tire of running from one quest giver to the other, may I interest you in some bonus objectives? While these missions, if you want to call them that, ultimately add up to killing X amount of enemies, they do give out a good amount of experience. In addition, they encourage exploration.

World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor | The Joke That Is Leveling

This isn’t something that’s been fairly common in World of Warcraft before. Sure, it was nice to venture around the world and see the sights, but you didn’t get much out of it. That changes with Warlords of Draenor. Rare, named NPCs seemingly await you around every corner, each with their own unique loot. Sometimes it’s a vanity item, other times it’s a piece of unique gear only available on that NPC. While its disappointing that the gear dropped isn’t guaranteed to be of any use, there’s a new loot system put in place to ensure players aren’t constantly picking up items they don’t need.

Quest givers still hand out loot for the more important quests, but this time, it’ll always be something of use to the player. No more Hunters ignoring all of those pieces of leather, the days of Paladins sighing at the cloth items are gone. This is nothing but useful upgrades, all of which have a chance to be upgraded upon picking up as well. This helps reinforce the statement I said at the start of this article: leveling is a joke.

While it’s nice that things are enjoyable and streamlined in terms of both questing and gear (picking up pieces in retribution spec doesn’t hamper my holy spec as every item has strength, stamina, and intellect now), I miss the challenge of leveling. Being level 100 doesn’t necessarily carry the same weight as it used to; I feel like Blizzard was holding my hand throughout the entire experience.


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