The quest for XP

20th March 2009 – 10.28 am

Despite getting my death knight up to 76th level after a run through the Old Kingdom, and my warrior reaching the same level by completing the Netherwing Drake grind and Dalaran cooking daily quests, the harsh level restrictions in Wrath of the Lich King raise their ugly head again. Sholazar Basin opens up its content to me and the game tries to be friendly by having someone offer a direct flight there, but I'm in a bitter kind of mood because I've been there and denied content twice and now I want to move on to something else. The problem is that the game decides I am not ready for anything else quite yet and does its best to dissuade me from taking a path other than the one it has designed for me.

Personally, I would rather the game beat me back with the stick of overwhelming mobs than protect me in a paternal fashion by not letting me even try to take on the more challenging content. It seems antithetical to the idea of having an open world to explore to then deny players opportunities artificially. But I have whined about this before. What annoys me at the moment is the route the gryphon wants to fly my to Zul'Drak. Despite Dalaran being the most central point in Northrend, to get to the camp I found in Zul'Drak I need to be flown all over the southern half of the continent, taking in far too many sights. Just to get started questing I will need to sit on a gryphon for ten minutes.

I would like to think this extended flight is why I have been heading in to Wintergrasp regularly for some chaotic and insanely fun action, but it doesn't really explain why I am prepared to loiter for twenty minutes waiting for the PvP battle to start. The shorter flight to action seems more sensible. I also really ought to try to level up some more, because I would be much more useful in Wintergrasp at the level cap—and I can already afford some nice PvP rewards—and I could also stop complaining about level requirements being an impediment to my enjoyment. There are two ways I can advance my XP bar: solo questing and grouping for instances.

In a moment of being reasonable I buy a flight to Zul'Drak and pass the long journey time reading the in-flight RSS feed. After landing I pick up the few quests that are actually available to me now that I am 76th level and start nudging my XP bar upwards. A couple of quests push me towards different encampments in the region I have yet to find. The first one I am guided to has another flight point, shortening the journey to and from Dalaran and making me wonder if it will be shortened further once I find the Ebon Hold camp. With that thought I dash off to say hello to my death knight buddies and, sure enough, there is a third flight point and one that closes the link to Dalaran, making the flight nothing more than a short hop.

It is a little frustrating not to have realised earlier that there are multiple flight points in Zul'Drak, but my drive towards exploration has previously been damped by a lack of reward, in the form of available quests, making me less eager to seek out new places and people. At least now I have a short path to two zones where I can pick up quests for my level and gain experience whilst I am either waiting for the battle for Wintergrasp to begin or sitting in the LFG channel, as well as the knowledge of available flight points for future exploration. Who knows, maybe I'll even reach 80th level before the next expansion.

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