Azeroth Trek III: The Search for XP (and Cash)

When I had finally wrapped up all my business in Elwynn, I checked my /played time and was surprised to see that it was sitting at just under six hours. (This included a couple of trips to Stormwind for things like the paladin class quest to learn the resurrection spell. Remember the days when you would run into pallies who couldn't res because they'd never bothered to do that quest? Good times.) I was quite impressed that the starter zone alone had managed to keep me busy for so long, but of course things were only going to become more time-consuming.

I remember having that plank and nail on live!
In Westfall, I was off to a good start. I picked up pretty much every quest that I could find (of which there were quite a few) and then just started running around killing things almost at random, which worked surprisingly well, as nearly everything in the vicinity counted towards some quest objective or another. It was only towards the end that I had to range further to hunt down the last couple of remaining targets specifically.

The Defias in Westfall gave me even more trouble than the ones in Elwynn had done, especially as there were some nasty casters among them. I suffered my first death, and more followed soon. Mostly they were caused by me getting unexpected adds in a confined space such as inside a mine, where I had no space to run away. Since Vanilla WoW mostly restricted itself to one graveyard per zone, the corpse runs were quite substantial, though still not nearly as bad as I remember them being in other zones such as Darkshore, the Barrens or Blackrock Mountain.

Hello again...
I was a bit dismayed to find that once I had completed nearly all of the quests in the zone aside from a couple of higher level ones, I was still only level 15, far too low to go to the Deadmines. It made me realise just how little XP most of the quests awarded compared to what I'm used to these days. Most of them gave less than you would earn from killing about ten mobs of your level, so whenever I returned to a quest giver to hand in, I was a little disappointed by just how little my experience bar seemed to move. It was a stark reminder that while WoW gave rise to the quest-centered theme park MMO, Vanilla WoW still bore the clear marks of its mob-grinder predecessors. Sure, WoW was revolutionary in regards to the sheer amount of quests it launched with, but it still expected you to run around and kill a lot of mobs to actually level up.

I was sent to deliver a message to Lakeshire and noticed that the quests there did start around level 15, but considering the trouble the Defias had given me and what I remembered of the local gnoll camps, I really didn't want to go in there at the absolute minimum level. Instead I decided to make the journey to Loch Modan, where I had another delivery to make.

I have fond memories of my first Vanilla character, the paladin I tried to recreate here on Kronos, questing in Loch Modan. I distinctly remember getting into a group with nothing but dps to kill troggs for the quest at Ironband's excavation and it being pretty manic as I became the dedicated healer of the party and people were charging off in all kinds of different directions. I had a really fun time with that.

Fortunately, Kronos didn't disappoint in regards to recreating that experience either. I hadn't even got to Ironband's yet, but I was working my way through the quest chain to kill regular troggs in Stonesplinter Valley when a dwarf priest and a hunter threw me a group invite. Even though we quickly established that I wasn't even on the same step of the quest chain as them yet, they were happy to help me get caught up. We had a good laugh at the hunter's boar pet bugging out like crazy inside the caves, aggroing things left and right and evading others. Just like Vanilla WoW indeed! Initially I felt a bit flustered by the kindness of the two dwarves and their willingness to kill troggs they didn't even need for their own quest anymore, but of course this also goes back to what I wrote about quest XP: it's not all that. Just being in a group that can kill a large number of mobs quickly and safely isn't half bad even if you're not on the quest yourself.

More positive grouping experiences followed. I grouped up to kill ogres in the Mo'grosh ogre mound in the north-eastern corner of the map, and even though we died a few times in there, we were always in good spirits as we ran back to our bodies, keen to give it another try with a slightly different strategy (which repeatedly turned out to be: everyone with the ability to heal, spam heals on the warrior). I also joined a guild almost by accident, as one of the people in that group started throwing everyone guild invites while we were in the middle of a cave fighting ogres. I wanted to ask what sort of guild it was, explain how I wasn't sure if I should even join one etc. but in the heat of battle I just clicked accept. At least the guild name, "You had me at LokTar", is vaguely amusing. It does seem to be a levelling guild as well, as I checked the guild roster a bit later and the highest level character in the guild was only in the low forties at the time.

I more or less finished up Loch Modan by killing Ol' Sooty, the elite bear on the mountain south-east of Thelsamar. That was quite funny too, as I got a mage to help me who didn't even have the quest, and at first the two of us didn't seem to be powerful enough as Sooty killed us on our first attempt. On our second one however, we got him down via some epic kiting by both me and the mage, and even though the mage still died eventually, I managed to finish Sooty off with less than ten percent of my own health left on my bar. We had a good laugh about that. The only downside was that I was still only level nineteen.

Next to experience points, the other thing I found myself struggling with was money. Mobs generally only dropped a few copper, quests awarded a few silver... and everything I needed seemed terribly expensive in comparison. Even taking a flight was not a decision to be made lightly, considering that it would cost me at least one silver. More than once I slunk away from the paladin trainer with my metaphorical tail between my legs, unable to actually afford all my ability upgrades. Though I suppose I didn't help my case by trying really hard to keep up with all of my professions, including the secondary ones - I had forgotten just how much of a money sink profession training could be, especially the training of new ranks and recipes.

On the plus side, this constant need for money also gave me more reasons to not be shy about killing mobs in my way, and turned even minor surprises into major events for me. For example I fought my way inside the very heart of a kobold cave, even though the associated quest didn't require me to do so, and found a rare mob there. When I killed him, he dropped no less than three green items. What riches!

One of my guildies commented that he was excited about hitting the milestone of having earned one gold, and we mused on how it was funny how valuable money felt in early Vanilla.

Eventually I moved on to Redridge, and after a couple of rounds of killing gnolls and wildlife, I hit level twenty with a /played time of 25 hours.


  1. Cut this out! You're making me nostalgic!

    1. That's kind of the point though, isn't it? ;)

      Anyway, didn't you start playing in Wrath? Then you shouldn't feel quite as nostalgic about the slowness of the old world, as levelling had already been sped up a little by then.

    2. Ah, but Paladins still needed to quest for the Rez spell, if you wanted the Blood Knight tabard you had to quest in the Eastern Plaguelands and Strat, (you even got the Thalassian Charger that way, although you got it at L20 by the time I joined), and you still had all of the red enemies in the starter zone (no yellow only, that's for sure).

      While it may have been easier, it still wasn't the same as it was at the end of Wrath and onward.

  2. I can't get enough. I'm loving this series. I am so tempted to join, PVP be damned.

    1. Honestly, I'm waiting for the PvP to rear its ugly head but so far it hasn't. I've never played on a PvP server before and would have preferred a PvE one myself, but I had already committed myself to the idea by the time I found out that Kronos was PvP. Up until Westfall you're completely safe as you don't get auto-flagged until Redridge, and even there I haven't actually run into any Hordies yet. (One has to remember that Horde and Alliance lowbie lands are mostly quite far apart and travelling is a non-trivial time investment.) In the capital cities I've heard the occasional general chat comment about a sneaky Horde player attacking, but I've not actually observed any action myself so far. We'll see if that changes once I make it to Southshore...

  3. Hmm weird, I could have sworn i replied here allready...
    Its so nice to see this series, as Im living through the same atm (paladin on kronos). Its also funny to recognize most of the names in your screenshots, thats not something im used to on blogs :-)

  4. Glad to see you're having so much fun on Kronos. Let us know how things keep going.

    1. I have about two more posts drafted up already. This whole thing is definitely giving me lots to talk about.