Alas, poor Outland

Levelling my shaman through Outland in the past weeks left me with one impression above all others, namely that Outland has been hit by the levelling nerfs worse than any other area.

See, I still remember reaching level seventy on my first character: At the time I ran some instances while levelling, but still also had to complete all the quests in Hellfire Peninsula, Zangarmarsh, Terokkar Forest and Nagrand, before I finally dinged seventy about halfway through Blade's Edge. The alts that followed were all a bit faster, hitting the level cap in Nagrand or towards the end of my Terokkar questing. The latter already started to feel borderline wrong, because what's the point of having all these zones to quest in when you don't even need to go through half of them to reach the cap?

Anyway, when my shaman hit sixty-eight and thus officially became ready for Northrend, she had only just finished questing in Hellfire and started on Terokkar, skipping Zangarmarsh entirely. If progression from the old world to Outland worked like that, you'd suddenly find yourself ready to go through the Dark Portal at some point in Ashenvale. It kind of makes you go: "What? Seriously?" My shaman's ding happened during a Mana Tombs run and I immediately started wailing at my party members that I didn't feel ready for Northrend yet, and they poked fun at me in return.

Since then I've ventured to Northrend on occasion to train my professions and to run Utgarde Keep and the Nexus, but since I've quested my way through Howling Fjord and the Borean Tundra about five times this year already, I decided to go back to Nagrand for my shamans early seventies, just for a change of pace. The experience gains and item rewards aren't as good, but since the mobs are all green to me I burn through everything pretty quickly. And I'm even having fun listening to Garrosh mope, knowing how annoying he gets once he stops doing so.

I wonder if this is how vanilla veterans felt when BC made so much of their old endgame obsolete. I never got to see much of vanilla at sixty, but in BC I did everything at seventy and loved every minute of it, so seeing all of that great content become abandoned and obsolete makes me sad.

Then again, I think the problem in this case is that it's not even just the endgame - I don't mind that Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley are quiet and that people aren't regularly raiding Tempest Keep anymore. But Nagrand? Nagrand has always been a mid-level zone, yet in BC it was always bustling with activity anyway. These days it's dead quiet except for some lone ranger asking if anyone wants to group for Durn the Hungerer in general chat and being greeted by tumbleweeds, or the occasional zone-wide yell that "Bloodworm" has defeated Mogor because some death knight wanted the achievement.

Alas, poor Outland, I knew you - but it seems that newer players really have no reason to get to know you at all anymore. Who can blame them, if you can be ready to move on to Northrend before you even had time to get properly started on anything in Outland?

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