Hitting The Endgame Wall

My last post ended on a very optimistic note, but as it turned out that optimism may have been slightly misplaced or at least premature. For example I'd forgotten just how much I loathe most of the game's original endgame zones. To quote myself from three and a half years ago when I was levelling my paladin on Kronos:

I just don't really like most of the Vanilla level 50+ zones. The Plaguelands are depressing, the Burning Steppes are dull, Silithus with its grating soundtrack and ongoing bug noises is just freaking annoying. I actually find myself wondering if WoW would have been as "sticky" for me if Burning Crusade hadn't come out relatively soon after I hit max level, sparing me from having to spend a significant amount of time with the level sixty endgame.

After finishing up Felwood and Un'goro, my hunter set foot into the Plaguelands and I barely managed to complete two quests before I was feeling turned off. Ugh...

Attempts to pad my XP gains with a few more pug dungeons weren't successful either. Having hit level 58, which is technically high enough for all of Classic's endgame dungeons, I figured that I should be able to tap into the never-ending stream of LFM requests for max-level content that I'd observed during most of my levelling journey. Unfortunately though, it turns out that level 58 hunters aren't the most popular characters in /LookingForGroup.

The first three people I whispered didn't respond to me at all, just kept spamming their LFG request as if nobody was replying. Another told me that they were already full (quite some time after my initial whisper though) and two other times I was told that they already had a hunter and didn't want another. I mean of course, bringing more than one of the same class to a dungeon would surely be unthinkable!

I'm being a bit facetious here because when damage dealers are a dime a dozen there is some logic to trying to build a diverse group, not least because it increases the chances of everyone getting some loot and little going to waste. But after how inclusive and easygoing most of my pugs had been while levelling up, it was still a bit of a blow. (I ran quite a few levelling dungeons with groups with other hunters and there were never any bad vibes. In Sunken Temple a troll hunter and I even set up trap chains on some pulls since a single ice trap's duration is so short.)

Finally I managed to get invited to a group for Strat live that had already both a tank and a healer but was taking suspiciously long to fill its dps slots - my best guess is that the fact that the group leader and healer was a level 59 shaman was deterring the same kinds of people who didn't want a level 58 hunter in their group.

I was feeling optimistic though as we engaged in some friendly chatter on the way to the dungeon entrance. Unfortunately we were only on the second pull when an Eye of Naxx appeared and since I couldn't kill it fast enough we got adds and wiped. Fortunately nobody took it too badly and we just resed up and continued. Unfortunately we soon suffered more deaths, such as when the tank made a big pull while the mage was busy conjuring water. I'll shamefully admit that I was responsible for some deaths too when a clumsy tab-target sent an arrow flying into an extra group of mobs (though that pull didn't wipe us).

We made it past the gate with the rats, and then wiped again on the very next pull. This time I couldn't even tell what had gone wrong exactly; it felt like the healer just hadn't been able to keep up with the damage on the tank. One of the dps said that he didn't have time for this, left, and before I knew it the group had disbanded.

Just like Vanilla indeed. My first memory of Strat is my nelf priest being roped into serving as a healer for a pug run, us wiping a few times on the first road and everything falling apart soon after.

I'm not sure if this screenshot is from that run, as it looks like we must have got a bit further that time, but you get the idea.

I was starting to entertain the idea of cancelling my sub and giving the whole thing a break for a couple of months when I finally got lucky and managed to snag a spot in a guild run on Sunday morning, also for Strat live as it happened. That experience couldn't have been more different: The run was chill and very successful (we never wiped, though there were a couple of humorous deaths, such as when the undead warlock gained an insane amount of aggro from some Scarlets by cannibalising the corpse of one of their mates), and even better for me personally: I hit level 59 and scored no less than three very good pre-raid pieces of gear that nobody else needed.

So hope lives on.


  1. I can't remember now but didn't you have to be 60 to go to Burning Crusade once upon a time? I remember disliking BC intensely but I can't remember if I went there in the high 50s or whether I had to grind that out in Plaguelands first.

    What about the snowy zone? That's nice. I forget the name. It has a goblin town as the hub. I was already questing there in the low 50s before I stopped playing, though, so maybe it doesn't go high enough.

    The longer I get from having played Classic, the less inclined I feel to log back in. Mid-50s ennui is a big contributor to the apathy. Also EQII being so much fun right now. I guess I should cancel my WoW sub until I'm actually in the mood to carry on leveling. It's not going to be any time soon...

    1. I may be wrong but as far as I can remember you've always been able to start on Hellfire Peninsula at level 58, it just wasn't recommended as the content was tuned for level 60s in decent gear, so lower level characters had a pretty rough time with the first few quests.

      The zone you're thinking of is Winterspring and is indeed quite nice. I've been meaning to go there but my quest log is full of chains I don't want to abandon so I need to clear some of those out first before I have room to pick up more quests in yet another zone.

      I think whenever you get back to Classic you should just roll a Horde alt and see some of the low-level zones on that side. I think you'll enjoy that more than the Plaguelands. :)

  2. I've been wondering where to go once I hit the mid-upper 50s. I kind of prefer the Plaguelands, but I remember being tired of Strat back in the day due to the constant farming. I guess I'll just have to worry about that when the time comes.

    1. Farming is something I certainly never got around to doing back in the day. I don't think I even completed most of the original endgame dungeons until Burning Crusade (certainly not BRD or Strat).