I started playing Wrath on its release date and dinged 80 just over 2 weeks later on the 3rd Dec. I didn’t rush, in fact for the first few levels I hung back, enjoying having an experience bar again and leveling my fishing and other professions. Only from 77-80 did I really push to level. I had a couple of free days to mostly play WOW and 80 was in sight. I play most days, but I also work 4 days a week, so RL means some day all I did was my cooking dailies.
Questing to 75 was fun, often interesting, but fairly easy. Anelf was away for the first week of Wrath, so I started in Howling Fjord solo, completing all the quests there, including the 2-3 man group quests and elite kills solo. Bereg my gorilla died once or twice, but I only died once, when I tried to jump next to a quest giver sitting on the edge of a cliff and kicked my goat a bit hard. Goat happily sailed off over said cliff, and we both met our doom on the rocks far below.
A couple of quests worth noting. On the beta, I got confused by this one – The Jig is Up – where you have to go into a cave and kill Jonah Sterling the undead pirate and then Hozzer the bear, both elites. At 30% health Jonah jumps into the bear pit and the bear eats him up. I thought I had to try and kill Jonah faster, or kite or cc him to stop him getting ‘et up’. Not so. Let the bear eat him and then either jump after him, or being a hunter with a pet that doesn’t always jump, run around and kill the bear. It can be tough, depending upon your class and gear level, but both Jonah and the bear are soloable. You can then loot the quest item, Jonah’s spyglass from the bear.
The only quest I struggled with solo was March of the Giants. This is a two man quest involving killing elite stone giants. The giants put a stacking dot on your pet, so it’s hard to keep your pet alive through the fight. I was finding my gorilla was going down at the same time or just before the giant, so I had to put the last few arrows into the giant as he lumbered towards me. Still doable solo, just my gorilla was pretty annoyed with me. I suggest if you are having trouble with this one, try either grouping up with someone, or kiting the giant more, perhaps while pulling your pet back for periods and giving him a chance to heal up and remove the DOTs with mend pet. The other way of doing it, is how I easily soloed the supposedly harder elite – combine it with the quest The Rune of Command – which gives you a pet giant (in addition to your own pet) that can help you fight.
There are some fun quests in Howling Fjord, but the one that hints of things to come is one of the end quests – The Slumbering King. The quest itself is straightforward, but the scene at the end, where You Know Who shows up is cool.
If you follow the quests in a logical pattern (something I did with the help of Jame’s leveling guide) you don’t miss your flying mount too. There are interesting and novel ways to move around, including a tauren canoe taxi-cab, cable cars, bi-planes, and surfing on a flaming harpoon.
I started Wrath in all purples – mostly Merciless Gladiator gear, some Kara and good BOE epics, and a couple of BOJ badge pieces (including the BOJ xbow). I therefore did not find any upgrades in Howling Fjord, although there were a couple of nice trinkets that I have held on to, including the First Mate’s Pocketwatch from the Jig is Up.
Howling Fjord is one of my favorite zones for the scenery and ambience. I like the Norwegian feel to it, and the new huge humanoid mobs, like huge Norse warriors. You revisit some of these themes in another of my favorite zones, Storm Peaks, later on.
After Howling Fjord, I did a few of the early quests in Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills, and once Anelf was back we duoed Borean Tundra together. More of that later.