I played a bit with her, earning a bit XP here and there. If my memory serves me right, she was she was half-way through level 74 last Tuesday, March 2nd. I initially believed that the Lunar Festival would end on Friday, so I thought I had to get her to level 77 and get the instance within that time limit.
She is on another server than my other toons. No heirloom gear granting additional XP or a major dps boost. No flying mount until level 77. Had almost full rested XP, though. At that point, she had a retribution and a protection spec. Will respec on of those to holy, just not sure which one yet.
Enter speedlevellingI had done every quest in Dragonblight with my other characters already, so I knew where to go. The new Blizz quest interface made it even easier, for the quests I didn't remember exact location of. I tried Carbonite (Addon) at one point, but found out I didn't like it too much.
Questing was incredibly painless as a paladin. The class is practically made for this sort of stuff. Heavy armor translated to fairly little damage taken. Judgement of Light and Divine Storm healed up any damage from even-level non-elites, even groups. And I could use the Art of War procs to heal even more. Nonexistant downtime. Heals between combat if necessary to get up again, even in-combat when necessary. Judgement of the Wise to recover mana. With a glyphed Seal of Command, it was a fairly large amount too. Divine Plea on a mere 1 minute cooldown as well.
But it gets even better! Paladins have no ramp-up dps time when using Seal of Command, and a huge amount of cleave damage. I could solo with ease multiple mobs. Just switched to the least damaged all the time. Crusader Strike cleaved three mobs. Divine Storm hit four. Judgement also cleaved 3, as far as I could see. Using Consecration burned a lot of mana, so I didn't use it all the time, only on several mobs. It hit all of them. And against undead or demon mobs, it was almost silly: Holy Wrath for huge damage and a 3 sec stun on all mobs.
We're not done yet! They have an innate mounted speed increase with Crusader Aura. Some other classes can get it through talents, but usually only for one of their specs. Further, a 15% running speed increase all the time through Pursuit of Justice. And then we haven't mentioned a single cooldown yet. Avenging Wrath for a nice dps increase. Divine Protection to burn through multiple mobs fast without taking too much damage. Divine Shield to play the "can't touch this"-game with the mobs. Lay on Hands to just complete the list of overpowered abilities. Granted, they can no longer burn Lay on Hands, Divine Protection and Divine Shield during the same combat unless it lasts at least 2 min, but even without that they're practically overpowered.
Finally, a protection spec may be inferior for dps compared to Retribution, but completely superior for survivability. I soloed one 3-man quest at my level as Retribution... barely. Died once first, had to really plan the use of cooldowns during that one. For the next one, I opted to try protection instead. "No Art of War," I thought. "Much less healing." Cancel that thought. I took so little damage it was silly, and Judgement of Light kept me topped at all time. So I soloed all other 3-man quests in Dragonblight with ease. The only one that proved some challenge was the magnataur at the end of a chain, but even against him I didn't need a single cooldown, not even Ardent Defender.
A 80 warrior called out for help against the 5-man dragon, so I never got the chance to test my luck against her. It would probably have been a bit much for soloing at the intended level, though.
Bottom line: Overpowered. Not that it's a problem, it's only a minor aspect of the game. However, it was incredibly fast.
Elder MirleiBy Thursday I had achieved level 77, and finished Utgarde Pinnacle. I got a minor heart-attack when I saw I still didn't get the meta-achivement, but a quick check proved that I lacked the elders in Storm Peaks that require a flying mount to get. Fair enough, that was easy to fix.
Fly faster, you slowpokeAt this point, I slowed a bit down. I had gotten my cold weather flying, but with only 2k gold in my pocket after that, I couldn't afford a flying mount. Thus, I intended to play the auction house game a bit to get earn money for epic flying training with the stuff I had gotten while questing. Mirlei is a skinner and a miner precisely to earn money, so I had a good amount of tradeskill materials to auction away. Will probably make her a blacksmith if I continue to seriously play her. I never bought any equipment or anything at all while levelling.
How long time did it take me to raise the 2.5k gold necessary (total 4.5k gold, with honored discount)? 3 days. I'm not kidding. I never bought anything, just sold. The auctioneer addon, particularly the "Appraiser", helped put things out quickly. I earned 2k gold of the auction house during those 3 days, and the other 500 gold by questing. By sunday evening, I had my epic flier... with literally 8g left across Mirlei and my bank/auctioneering alt left. I had forgotten that the actual mount also costs a bit, 90g honored.
Honor... no, wait, Revere me, babyAs you probably know, Blizz increased the reputation gains on a lot of the Northrend factions in 3.3. By the time I was done in Dragonblight, I was revered with Wyrmrest. Handy. I also gained Revered with Horde Expedition and the Kal'uak, but neither of those was subject to the increased reputation multiplier in 3.3.
Getting reputation with Sons of Hodir was certianly easier. That would mean that it took less time to raise it from Neutral to Exalted, right? Yes, but not only that. You start out as hated and "at war" with them. During the questline with Thorim, you normally gain a ton of reputation, enough to raise it to neutral with the Sons of Hodir. However, this amount of reputation is also increased. During a single day I went from not having Sons of Hodir on my rep bar at all to be revered with them, and it included only a single round of each daily quest available and no trip to Halls of Lightning. Phew! Most handy, I had dreaded having to do the dailies until my brain bleeded again.
I also realized how expensive the reputation-bought gear is. 70 gold at revered, for each of their items. At this point I had just bought my epic flying training and was broke. However, a single round of dailies with the Sons of Hodir yielded almost 150 gold.
Other questsI also did the questline to take Crusader's Pinacle and the Shadow Vault. In addition, I'm doing the dailies on the Argent Tournament grounds, to at least get to buy the champion gear.
Plans are for pansiesWhat's the plan now? I had assumed I had to quest a bit more before 80. Do the Onslaught quests in Icecrown. I can still do that, but I don't "need" to anymore. However, I probably will, just because I find it interesting to slaughter the Scarlet fanatics. I'm not really fan of fanatics anywhere else either, and that's not limited to religion. Atheist fanatics also annoy me. In fact, anyone who think they know better than me what I should do with my life.
Back on topic. I will do some heroics until I'm ready to join some pug raids, and then test out paladin healing first-hand. I'm looking forward to the experience. First impression of Sacred Shield: It's fairly neat, but I was really surprised. You don't get the Flash of Light heal over time unless Sacred Shield is actually absorbing damage right now. That means they don't got a "true" on-demand HoT. I'll need more experience before I can tell if that's really a problem.
What else? I'm not sure. I've played too much this last week, averaging 3 hours a day. I want to relax my wow-addiction again. Last night (just after I dinged 80), me and my wife watched the first episode of Samura Champloo. No offense to those that like it, but I think dubbing sucks. Glad I had the DVD and could switch language.
LFG tank, last spotWhat about tanking? I have gotten a fair emount of first-hand experience on paladin tanking now. It's certianly different. I want to write a full post on the topic.
Then there's also the post about shaman healing, which I've postponed for a long time.