I've been leveling yet another character, and this time picked to go the Hellfire Peninsula / Zangarmash route instead of the Borean Tundra / Dragonblight route. It was interesting, just in the sense that I hadn't done it for a while, but it's definitely not the best route to go at that point. The quests still suffer from running around a bit too much. And definitely more issues with mob scarcity and drop rates.
Beautiful place though. Although I always find it weird that as soon as your cross over into Zangarmash, both the moons and the beautiful sky disappear and everything becomes gray. Sort of like driving into Ohio.
It just dawned on me as I was looking around that I don't really save old screenshots. That makes me kind of sad now, because I've been playing for a long time, and it would be kind of nice to have a visual record of some of those old adventures. I just realized that you used to be able to tell when you started playing by going back through your account transaction history on Battle.net, but it looks like they're only saving 10 years worth of data there now, so no way to tell exactly now. I'm pretty sure I've got it called out in an old blog post somewhere, but I'm not ready to go back and search for that.
I actually had been playing for almost two years before I even started blogging. My oldest son and I started playing sometime in the early part of the Burning Crusade expansion. Over the course of Burning Crusade, I only managed to get one character to max level, undead warlock Joar, who is still my main. I did manage to raid Karazhan, and set foot in Black Temple once, but that was about it. I spent a lot of time farming stuff in Burning Crusade to try to get decent enough gear to let me raid and go into heroics with my guild.
Even then, it was a bit of a catch 22, because the gear that you needed to get into heroics was crafted with recipes than only dropped in heroics. And you had to do this whole giant attunement questline just to get into Karazhan. I honestly don't even remember what was involved with that, just that it took forever.
By the time I started writing this blog, during the Wrath of the Lich King, I had managed to get a second character to max level - a death knight. He's still one of the "Big Five" characters that I play the most. If you go back and read that second post ever that lays out the goal of getting a character of each class to level 80, I was estimating the average /played time to get to 80 for each character at right around 8 days. Now it takes less than 2 days to get to 120. That should give everyone a pretty good idea for how much they've streamlined things.
Later in the week, I'll actually provide a current update on what the various members of the Joar empire are up to at the moment.