My focus in WoW is ever-changing as ever, and in the past few weeks or so I've mostly spent my time questing on my max-level alts. I've commented on the linearity of Cataclysm's questing in the past (and so have many others), and as a result have shied away from repeating many of the quests on my alts. I don't like reading the same book or watching the same film over and over. While my main has been a Loremaster of Cataclysm for a while now, my level eighty alts mostly levelled up by engaging in other activities: exploration, gathering, instances. I'd do the first couple of quests in each zone to unlock the portal in Orgrimmar, but afterwards I was happy to never look back.
Well, until recently that is, when I was looking at what ways I had left to progress my alts' gear without raiding and realised that my best options were really things like getting the Therazane shoulder enchants and working towards exalted reputation epics. And how do you get those things? By questing.
So I buckled down and started repeating zones. I've always been someone who at least skimmed all the quest text, even upon repetition, but with the new linearity even I just ignored most of it because I didn't really need a reminder of what I was supposed to do - it was obvious. In many ways it was also boring and tedious, though a couple of zones turned out to be not nearly as bad as I had expected, which was a pleasant surprise. I also couldn't help but be reminded of part of the original purpose of quests - to give players the feeling that they could achieve something even if they only had very limited play time - which is something that I've definitely benefited from when my real life week ended up being busier than I had anticipated.
Mount Hyjal actually turned out to have surprisingly high replay value for me. It's linear, but still less so than other zones. For example there's a point where you can decide to help out at the shrine of Aviana or take another one first. As I said in my initial review of the zone, the gameplay of the quests is varied and fun, and as far as the story goes it really feels like you are achieving something tangible, bringing the ancients back and reclaiming Hyjal bit by bit. I don't mind doing that again.
Vashj'ir on the other hand feels like a massive drag upon replay. I still stand by the good things that I said about it originally, but it really fails to impress a second time. The linearity of progression is very rigid: you spend fifteen minutes at a mini hub and then abandon it, never to return again. The story also doesn't hold up well when experienced a second time. In a nutshell it can be summed up as "you get shipwrecked and discover that the naga are working with the old gods", and it relies heavily on building up suspense about what's going to happen next. Working your way through 150 quests of "golly gosh, whatever are we going to do" when you already know exactly what's going to happen just doesn't cut it.
Deepholm is a lot like Hyjal in my eyes, with a story that emphasises that you're doing something worthwhile at every step of the way and thus feels worthy of repeating. My only problem is that the quests feel a bit too samey to me (it's all about killing earth elementals and twilight cultists really), so I tend to get bored halfway through and then the rest starts to drag a bit.
Uldum is the only zone that I've only managed to repeat once so far, and I think it's pretty much the cut scenes alone that are to blame for this. I don't mind the Ramkahen half of the quests (in fact, I love just hanging out with High Priest Amet and enjoying the view of the underwater world from inside the dam), but the Harrison Jones quest line with its constant clunky cinematics drives me absolutely bonkers. See You on the Other Side! says the quest, "follow me" says Harrison Jones, but then you don't get to do anything at all because clearly moving up the hill yourself is way too strenuous so they just show you a cut scene of your character running and you automatically reappear in the right spot. What the fricking frack. It was annoying the first time, but it only gets worse upon replaying.
Twilight Highlands was another pleasant surprise, but for different reasons than I expected. It has both slightly more lenient and more linear bits, so my enjoyment of those varied. It also had one quest that keeps annoying me in a new way every time I do it, due to having hidden quest requirements that aren't mentioned anywhere, and my characters having suffered repeated deaths due to the helpful NPCs despawning or getting lost whenever I needed them the most. However, one thing that really works in the Highlands' favour are the item rewards. Yes, all the zones shower you in quest rewards, but with how fast you level and how quickly the ilevels go up, many of them don't feel like significant upgrades and don't last very long. Twilight Highlands however offers the best rewards you can get before hitting max level instances, and it's a great way of getting characters up to speed that have fallen behind in terms of gear progression. I ended up taking both my shaman and my death knight through this zone in quick succession without feeling any annoyance at all, simply because getting both their gear sets up to speed for level 85 within an evening felt rewarding enough on its own.
Now, this is one of those topics where I'm really interested in other people's experiences. How many alts have you levelled to 85 yet (if any)? Did you repeat a lot of quests? If so, did you enjoy it? Which zones did you find the most fun to play through repeatedly?
3 hours ago