I'm not one of those people who blows through content. I've always had multiple characters that I've leveled at once, multiple goals that I was attempting to accomplish in the game, and playing on a PvP server frequently employed the "One gank and I switch characters" mentality. Sometimes the ganking even caused me to play PvE for extended periods. However, after a long, laborious, drawn out process, I finally hit the level cap on my main character.
I don't know what everyone else's experiences were. Mine was rather unexpected. I am coming off a stretch of four days off in a row with really nothing planned. I was level 77 at the beginning of that stretch, but levels take a while when it's 1.6 million XP a piece. At first, I figured I would hit 78, maybe 79 and have to come back to work today leaving the last level unfinished. Luckily for me, that was not the case. One thing I think Blizz has done really well (at least from a tanking perspective) was space the gear out so I always had an easy goal in mind. Level 74 was shield and sword, 75 breastplate, 76 pants etc. I was super excited to hit 78 and get the last pieces of the blue BoE tanking set. At 78, my guildies ran with me through culling of stratholme (they may not have realized this as many of them have limited alliance experience, but stratholme felt to me like a kind of copy of stormwind). I got the tanking boots from that run (yay!) and I think I may have hit 79 on that run. The next day a group PM'd me asking if I was tank or DPS. I responded both (although I rarely use my ret dual spec, I think I'd have been better off not buying it, but oh well). The guy said they were running CoS and looking for a tank. I ran with them, it was pretty awesome, no wipes, easy run. Then everyone pretty much decided they wanted to run Utgarde Pinnacle as well which I'd never ran. After a small embarassment involving going to the wrong side of the continent (Having played both factions in northrend, I get utgarde keep and Nexus confused in my mind, yeah one too many concussions for fishy), we grouped up and ran UP. I will admit, not as smooth, we did wipe once on Ymirion (his guards feared me right into his lap, I was like "hey man how ya doin, oh come on, dont aggro on me bro!"). Again, I received more tanking goodness (bracers dropped and got the quest breastplate). This put me so close to 80, I pretty much dinged in the middle of running my argent tournament dailies (which I hadn't been doing that long given that I just hit 77 the other day). A slightly anti-climactic way to hit 80, but I felt accomplishment none the less.
So looking back(from 1-80):
Favorite piece of gear - This is cheating a little bit, but Tempered Saronite helm. Made it myself with a cooldown donated from a guildie (thanks to ed from the blog Code Red). Looks sweet, is just all around awesome and I crafted it and cut the gems for it myself. The dragon wings on the helm even protect my delicate blood elf ears lol.
Least favorite piece of gear - the SUNEATER. Its like having a class with an amazingly hot girl that won't go out with you. Maybe you ask her out and she declines or it never works out, but you think "man, if I just had a shot, it'd be awesome". Oh how I hate you heroic mechanar.
Favorite moment - This may shock my guildies. Its a PvP moment. Ever see Universal Soldier where Dolph Lundgren's character snaps and starts killing everyone? Ya, I did a wow version of that. Someone ganked me in hellsbrad (yes Hellsbrad, although its not as bad as it used to be). Something inside me snapped, I kindly asked for assistance in guild chat (ok, I was a little frustrated and pissed). Grabbed my paladin and I think the entire guild came along. We completely took over south shore, killed every allie there and I ran around killing all the quest givers. Then, because it was close, we went to the town in Wetlands, and I killed all the quest givers there too. It made me feel better lol.
Least favorite moment - Most of the rest of the time spent in Hellsbrad or gankthorn vale. At one point in TBC, level 70s were so bored they would just troll around looking for 30's to 1 hit. It was so bad, I didn't even know how good a place to level it was until I went PvE. I leveled in Desolace instead. . .without a mount. . .back when you had to be level 40 to get a mount.
Best crafting decision - Picking up Jewelcrafting. Only one time (mercurial adamantite, BLECH!) was it especially painful and the benefits have been awesome. I always have plenty of upgrades for my alts and I would argue based on the trinket and JC only gems (yay +41 stam), that it is a better option for tanks than blacksmithing (if you're only going to have one or the other, need mining for titanium and to smelt my titansteel).
Worst crafting decision - Picking up enchanting on my Paladin and dropping it on my Warlock. I have a level 61 warlock. Now, thats not super high, but it is high enough level to master any crafting skill. Warlocks used to be my favorite caster (a title now held by mages, AoE and teleport FTW!). At the time, I thought soloing instances for drops to DE was a great way to level enchanting. It is to a point however, the sheer amount of resources I wasted doing it, damn. I have since dropped enchanting on my pally for mining meaning I'm left without an enchanter, till my mage hits outland when I will drop my warlock's tailoring for enchanting (He's currently Tailoring and Alchemy, yeah, I know it doesn't exactly go together).
So its been a great run, and I'm looking forward to everything to come!
Mid Afternoon Quickie
4 years ago