Redoing the 80-85 quests

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?


  1. It's funny, but I just wrote a blog about the 80-85 zones myself recently. All in all I agreed with you on Hyjal, Vashj'ir and Deepholm, but I think we disagree a bit about Uldum and Twilight Highlands.

    While I like the rewards and XP from Highlands better than Uldum, I personally preferred the quests in Uldum to the ones in Twilight Highlands. Uldum feels more cohesive to me than Twilight Highlands in terms of both its look and feel and the overall tone of the quests.

  2. I got three characters to level 85 before I dropped my subscription. I think I had wrung out all the replay value of those quests, and then some.

  3. @Old WoW Bastard: Where can I find this blog post? I'd like to read it. :)

    @Neowolf: Did you complete all five questing zones on all those characters then?

  4. I leveled an alliance toon from 1-85 and had a blast. I then tried to do the same thing with a horde toon. It started to drag immediately after I left the starting area and realized how many of the quests were exactly the same. A dancing draenei who can’t speak common very well, or a dancing troll who can’t speak orc very well. Once I got to 60 on my horde toon and the prospect of outlands for the umpteenth time came about….done. So I guess I can’t comment about doing 80-85 again, I never made it that far. 

  5. @shintar oldwowbastard.blogspot.com, thank you for asking! It's towards the end of the "State of the Game" post.

  6. I have 10 85s and 1 84. I always do all the available quests in one area before moving to the next one. That means that I usually hit 85 in the middle of the Uldum questlines (and without having done Vashj'ir). Why do all? Due to the blue item rewards that you get at the end of the long questlines, they're really helpful, some of them (from Uldum and TH) are very good items. Of course that also means I'm very tired of the quests. I usually stop in TH at the "A warm welcome" when you have to go to the Vermillion Redoubt. The last part (aiding Mattias Shaw in the Twilight Cult zone) is a pain in the ass. Doing Vashj'ir also later is very boring. I agree with you about the zone. Too big, too much traveling (and I think in this case it's a blessing not having to go back to a certain hub). It has great quests (I think everybody in the world agrees that battlemaiden questchain is a great success), good lore, but being the area so huge and rewarding so few rep (I go back there to get all the Earthen Ring rep I can) it's never going to be a popular place. Some people may even dislike it more due to the full 3D environment, but I think Blizz managed it pretty well and I don't have any problems there.
    In Uldum, the Sullah first quests are totally out of place imho. Why do I have to travel to Sullah's Sideshow to get meat, cage pigmies and tame camels if I have to go back to Jones and the only important part is sabotaging the Schnottz camp?
    Oh, and I hated going to the dam to do the High Priest Amet quests because until 4.0 or 4.1 it wasn't possible to fly or ride there, It was like being a low level in the vanilla times and you had to run on foot to every place, taking a lot of time.
    Another thing to remark is in the Twilight Highlands, after doing the Firebeard's Patrol and talking to the guy in the cemetery, you get then a cartload of quests, branching into three questchains, each one with another cartload of quests in. After all that time having only 2 long questchains in each area, it feals strange to suddenly having so much quests at once.
    So I'm not sure which area I enjoy more. I like Deepholm and Hyjal, but Uldum has some funny quests due to the Jones questlines. And the wedding in TH is just so hilarious...

  7. > How many alts have you leveled to 85 yet (if any)?

    3 (out of my 8 80s).
    - my main (Warlock)
    - my tailor to try to make money with the cooldown, (which wasn't worth it)
    - my paladin to actually be able to play the game because my main isn't a hybrid

    > Did you repeat a lot of quests?

    Yes, I leveled only by questing because you have to do them anyway to unlock the tabard (freaking stupid concept!). Especially for a tank the reputation rewards are essential.

    On the other side, running dungeon for no reputation and low-level blues isn't worth it for me when you have to run the same dungeon millions of times again on heroic anyway.

    > If so, did you enjoy it?

    Not a single second. The zones are so bad.

    But I loved leveling all 8 chars to 80 pre Cata. Even through Outland...

    > Which zones did you find the most fun to play through repeatedly?

    Only Deepholme and I didn't really like the zone either. You have the most freedom on which quests you do in what order.

    And you were less a "super hero godlike being" which cleans up a whole zone on it's own. I hate that. Like Hyjal, which would be completely doomed without YOU eventhough some really powerful NPC hang around there, like Ysera. Everyone could have done the tasks in Deepholme if he cared to gain the trust of the stone mother.

  8. Man, do I ever agree with you. I have three 85s and another at 82 (because she's stuck in Vashj'ir, god help me).

    I actually really enjoy Twilight Highlands alliance-side; I have some trouble with it hordewise because I do not and will never like or appreciate the Dragonmaw, so I find all of their quests more than a little distasteful. Rebuilding Deepholme and Hyjal have been fun every time, but as much as I want to love Uldum, Harrison Jones's cutscenes make me absolutely insane.

    I hate Vashj'ir. I dread it every time, regardless of how pretty it is, and only go as far as I need to unlock the quartermaster if I really, really have to.

  9. @Anonymous: This post was supposed to be about the 81-85 experience, but it's interesting that you mention 1-60. I briefly touched on this as well when talking about the new Feralas in this post, and how it felt like both factions were now offering more or less the same quests with different window dressing. I'm still hoping that it won't be quite as bad in all the lowbie zones though (I have yet to visit a few of them).

    @Kurnak & Aro: You remind me that I really need to level one of my Alliance toons to 85, just so I can see what Twilight Highlands is like from that side's point of view. It's apparently the only zone where the factions differ significantly but I've heard a lot of good things about the Wildhammer quests.

  10. @Aro

    You don't have to do any vashir quests to unlock the quartermaster.

    You can fly to the middle of the ocean above his location and swim to him before you die.

    Buy the tabard and done.
    I guess you could grab a couple flight points while you are at it if you wish.


  11. After I got my main to 85 (and did loremaster of all the Cata zones), I put off leveling my second 80 till a few weeks ago. Since then I have done Hyjal and nearly all of Deepholm. The sheer amount of quests in a zone start to drag, so by the end of Hyjal I was getting bored even though there are plenty of humorous quests with the cultists. Deepholme started out great, but when I got to the fungal ridge where I had done dailies forever and ever on my main I kind of shut down. Of course halfway through 84 means I should just go to Twilight Highlands, but I'm a completionist...

    I skipped Vashj'ir and Uldum for most of the reasons already mentioned: the pacing, story, and blasted Z axis.

  12. I find myself really craving immersion lately and some zones did a better job of this than others.

    Hyjal was great for it. Vash'jir and Uldum would have been great, if we focused on the lore and the story alone. The addition of the shipwrecked people and Harrison Jones, which were done for comedic effect, kind of fell flat with me and took me away from the otherwise engaging storyline. I enjoyed Deepholm for the most part and I have yet to finish Twilight Highlands from top to bottom. Not because there's anything wrong with the zone, but I'm usually geared up from instances or other avenues and have never felt the need to go through the questlines there (except for money, maybe).

    I'm on my 3rd soon to be 85 and I don't see myself doing it again. Cut to me, six months from now going "I'm on my 6th 85. Woo!"


  13. @Neowolf: Did you complete all five questing zones on all those characters then?

    I did on two of them. Rep grinding was part of that. For the third one, the sense of pointlessness was becoming overwhelming, so I stopped after it hit 85.

    This all happened over the two month period in which my Cataclysm sub was active.

  14. How many alts have you levelled to 85 yet (if any)?

    I currently have four Level 85 characters on four different servers, both Alliance and Horde, with another Level 84 Undead Death Knight well on her way.

    Did you repeat a lot of quests? If so, did you enjoy it?

    I'll just quote Kurnak here: I always do all the available quests in one area before moving to the next one. That means that I usually hit 85 in the middle of the Uldum questlines.

    Every character needs their own reputation with the various factions ... and the gold earned via questing is certainly not bad either.

    Most quests are mildly enjoyable. Anything with "vehicles" is not!

    Which zones did you find the most fun to play through repeatedly?

    Deepholm and Twilight Highlands are pretty neat. Vashj'ir looks amazing but three-dimensional gameplay simply doesn't work that well in WoW.

  15. I have 2 lvl 85 chars, and on both enjoyed Hyjal the most. I never got beyond picking up the tabard in Vash'jir on either of them, and Uldum the second time around I just found tiresome. I like Twilight Highlands too, especially the 'Wedding' quest chain.