In continuing with the previous string of posts, my Hunter is 88.5 now and that’s after completing the majority of Jade Forest. I’m trying to think back to the last time I went through this process and I’m pretty sure I hit 90 after the Jade, Karasang, Valley and parts of Kun-Lai. I’m pretty sure I’ll hit 90 before unlocking the farm, so 1.5 zones or so? I’m thinking that the new leveling path has you spend <2 zones per expansion to get through, which seems a rather large waste to me. Let me explain that a bit more.
BC’s best zones were not the starting zones. Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm were great. Terrokar was ok and now I don’t think you even set foot there. LK’s starting zones were solid enough, though Borean Tundra was the better option. Sholazar was great (lore!) but Icecrown and Storm Peaks were simply amazeballs. Cata’s zones all stunk up something fierce, with maybe Mount Hyjal being ok. Let’s all forget Uldum. MoP’s zones were a mixed bag. Jade Forest was/is good. Then it was a rough going until Townlong. Dread Wastes without a flying mount is still a nightmare. While I understand that the story flows from zone to zone, it would be a neat trick to have ALL the zones open per expansion and just flatten out the experience. Use scaling or whathaveyou to keep those zones active. GW2 does this pretty good. It sucks missing the ride that some of these zones provide. It just seems weird where a game would knowingly make you avoid 75% of the content.
Back to the Hunter. I specced Beastmaster as it was traditionally the leveling build of choice. WoD’s ability pruning and standardization of pets is not making BM that much fun. Sure, I can use a Molten Core Hound as a pet but his only unique skill is a damage shield. All my cooldowns are pet related, which makes it suck something fierce when I don’t have a pet. And there have been a half dozen quests now where I don’t have access to a pet, meaning I have 2 skills to damage an opponent. It’s like fighting unarmed. I think I’m going to try Marksman.
Hunter pets have always fascinated me. Now with a streamline, there are 11 types of buffs provided by various pets. So have one of that buff type and you’re good. I’m collecting a bunch now, since the stable cap has gone up to 50. In fact, I found a Spirit Beast in Jade Forest that I wanted to try capturing. And that ended up killing me in 3 hits instead. I think once I hit 90 and spend a bit of time on the Timeless Isle (alliteration?) I’ll go back and collect some friends. I did do something similar at the tail end of Cataclysm, where I collected dozens of pets. I think I’m around 200 or so now, avoiding all those that required 1000+ kill farms. There’s just some OCD aspect about collecting that I think many of us can relate to.
While I still have a DK in the wings, and a max level shammy and monk, I think I’ll be sticking with the hunter until WoD comes out. Who knows I might actually buy the expansion too.