When Cataclysm started I really had no idea what to do with Annata and how to get her restarted. The Defias are a different game than before, and Ravenholdt is still a really cool idea that hasn’t been much developed.
I figured I’d level her as much as I could through the new zones and see what happened. She was level 35ish, so I went through Eastern Kingdoms: Hinterlands, Badlands, Searing Gorge, Burning Steppes, Swamp of Sorrows, Blasted Lands. That actually took her almost to level 62, between heirlooms and guild XP bonuses, and it was actually a lot of fun.
While I’m not a huge fan of the heavily scripted zone designs, for Annata, it gave her an interest in something new that was going on. In her case?
Her original reason for being in Stormwind may have been the Defias, but she’s really developed an interest in (and hatred for) the Twilight’s Cultists that have wrought so much damage on the world. She hasn’t yet actually run into Nefarian (other than in the Badlands quests), but I have a feeling that between him, the cultists, and the demons in Outland/Shadowmoon Valley, I won’t have to do much searching to find her motivation for running amok in the world.
The only thing that’s weird about leveling right now, though, is the Old World is not as old as it was. Since the original zones got revamped, Azeroth is now current world – and Outland is a HUGE chunk back in time. It’s a little jarring, even if I’ve come to be rather fond of parts of Outland, especially for character development. Essentially going back in time (which Northrend is too, but Outland seems much more like “old business”) is harder for me to swallow, from a character standpoint, than dealing with “old world” zones – at least then it was like playing through to “get to” today, instead of starting at today and then ping-ponging around until you got to 85.
Fortunately, Outland is faster and a lot easier to do now, with the changes in leveling speed, and the ability to fly right at 60 (which is pretty nice, even though I would love to tell you about walking uphill both ways in Blade’s Edge without a mount before). Annata is level 63 and working with Honor Hold and will probably skip most of Zangarmarsh to work in Terrokkar, Blade’s Edge, and Shadowmoon Valley – a completely different path than I took with Annylais, whose interest in Druidry kept her closely aligned with Zangarmarsh and Nagrand.
Northrend, however, I expect will be odd. There’s SO much nostalgia there (and another blog post somewhere about Wrath lore being kind of the high point of WoW RP for me… so far).
Aely’s real connection is with the Riders again, and to our own guild-driven stories (which is certainly fun), but it’s been a pretty large adjustment from the massive interaction she had with The Argent Crusade in Wrath. I’m really hoping to get Annata connected to the Riders as well, since I think she’d fit in with them – and it’ll be fun to have a more physically interactive character at the Pig and Whistle. Rogueing is a LOT of fun, and Annata is actually good at the stabby bits (unlike Angoleth, who is a little gimpy, and Aely, who has always been primarily a healer). Also stealth/sap is still hax.
All in all, the leveling process has made me think that Cataclysm is a lot more “story friendly” for newer characters.
Older characters, especially those like Aely with little connection to the elements, have been a lot harder for me to “find the link” for than the newer, younger characters – like Annata, Annylais, and Ancelyn (my Dwarf warlock)… and Cuanyin (my little Sunwalker Tauren… who really needs a proper introduction around here). As a sufferer of severe alt-itis, this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s been hard to balance story wise with my established characters.
Annata is around to stay though, and hopefully will be more involved with the general mayhem now that she’s a little higher level and a lot more solid of a character!
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