My sister and I have been having a pretty good time rolling alts through the new quest zones. I’ll write up new reviews of each of the races’ leveling paths as soon as I can. In the meantime, here’s a review of the gnomes we leveled earlier.
The new gnome leveling path is, put simply, awesome. The starting area is quite nice, though short (like all the other starting areas I’ve seen). By default (that is, following the “intended path” suggested by the quests) Gnomes go through Dun Morogh, Loch Modan, Wetlands, Arathi Highlands, Western Plaguelands, Eastern Plaguelands, and finally Blasted Lands. The path is straightforward and pretty intuitive. Rides from hub to hub were frequent and fairly obvious. That is to say, the ‘move on to the new zone’ quests were obvious and didn’t show up until it was ready to move on. There were plenty of fun quests and I was left admiring the quest selection. There were lots of different vehicle and item quests to break up the grind of constant “slay x number of y” quests and the dreaded “collect z dropped items” quests. I never felt like I was merely grinding out a level in quest-form. Many of the quests were actually fun to do. Finally, quest loot kept you well-geared without many frustrating bottlenecks.
At the end of it all (58 and moving on to Outland) my only real regret is that the quest XP was so plentiful that we never felt the need to run a dungeon (we ran only 2). I can understand the impulse to make dungeons optional, but the relationship between dungeons and questing seems less complementary and more adversarial. In other words, it felt like there was a real threat of out-leveling the content before completion if you did both quests and dungeons.