I took the normal road while leveling my first characters to maximum level. No sidetracking to build reputation, no stopping in one place to farm for a certain item, no trying to finish out an area after the quests became less than yellow in difficulty.
Then came the Burning Crusade. Shawndra got to 70 behind most everyone else, for no other reason than she was just slow to level. Carlotta was second to 70, but she hit that mark in Zangarmarsh, killing fireflies for the Captured Firefly. It wasn't for her, she was just the person dedicated to the task. Shawndra wanted it, so Carlotta spent a long time in Zangarmarsh.
Northrend hit, and normal paths to normal leveling happened. Delgada was first to 80 this time, followed by Carlotta. Noone has pursued unusual farming practices, but experiments have been launched on the other side of the conflict, on a non PvP realm.
Is it because, having been playing for so long, that I finally know what I want out of a character? Is that why I have been leveling Halinka this way? She finished out her Gnomeregan Exiles reputation grind today, hitting Gnomeregan for a few easy quests, then doing 17 runecloth turn ins. This amount of turn in did not happen for the other reputations. Why did she stoop to do this? Impatience. I had in my mind that she would have all the Alliance factions in Vanilla WoW at exalted before she hit 60. Today, at 62, Halinka was able to purchase her mechanostriders. She is still happy about it, but I had hoped to have had this finished already.
I logged Halinka out in her favorite inn-by-the-sewer with a drink in her hand. It was a rough day for her, mostly spent in Gnomeregan trying to find her way around. She didn't find Mekgineer Thermaplugg, but she was able to find a radioactive slime sample, save Techbot's brain, and gather some essential artifacts. Not as helpful as she wanted to be, but she was in enemy territory without a guide, and found the entrance more frequently than she found anything else. So, sitting on the edge of the dock with her hooves in the strangely refreshing magical waters of the sewer, she sips a fruity cocktail while she waits for her next adventure.
I started the Wintersaber Trainers reputation grind with her, and she is just into friendly with them. She had also been working on Timbermaw reputation, as they work well hand in hand. I had thought to finish out those reputations with her before she crossed through the portal into Outland, but a guild mate is urging me to hasten my leveling to 80.
So, I sit here trying to figure out how to get what I want and still be able to give what they want. In Winterspring, it is pretty solitary. I run into the rare person as I make my trips back and forth between Winterfall Village and Frostaber Rock. My quests are done rather easily, and I am able to harvest a large amount of herbs and high level skins while I am questing, not to mention the cloth and gear I loot. When I was working out there, I was making about 250 gold a day. Now that I am in Outland, it seems that every Tom, Dick, and DKFluffy is skinning and herbalizing too. The prices I get for the Outland herbs are roughly a third what I was getting for Icecap and Mountain Silversage. Same with the leathers. The gear that drops? I have relisted the same few items now twice. I sure hope they don't come back tomorrow. I haven't tried selling the cloth yet, as Halinka is stll leveling her first aid. On the economic side, Outland is not looking very bright.
On the experience side, it looks far brighter. The only experience I was getting on my reputation grind in Winterspring was from the kills. After the first turn in, the quests only give reputation. The amount of time I was traveling between quest mobs and turn in in Winterspring made my time spent seem wasteful. If only they would allow the collection of the items needed (the meats) to be done much like the beads and feathers for Timbermaw rep, the grind would be more inviting. In Hellfire, at least all my questing is giving me experience for both kills and completing the quests. And, I am cashing in most of the gear rewards, so I get a few gold from them. It's not nearly enough to make up for the loss of income from the items I was picking up in Winterspring, but it helps. After purchasing all her epic mounts, Halinka sits on about 100g (down from about 1700 she had at 60), and still needs to purchase the last epic mount from Steelgrill's Depot. This means that she needs to save roughly 2100g to buy her flying training, all three flying mounts, and her dual specialty by 70. She will then need to start saving roughly 6800 gold for her epic flying skill and cold weather flying. This is not even counting any reputations she fancies grinding out in Outlands (She will be trying for Netherwing and Skyguard reputation, and possibly Cenarion Expedition for their flying mounts, and Sporeggar for their pet). Staying in Outlands really doesn't make sense financially, but it does on a leveling perspective.
In the end, I guess I have made my mind up to stick it out in Outland. I have rolled a new character on Shadowsong, Ellence, a rogue. She will accompany my husband when he decides to play on the server with me. He is taking my normal go to combination of herbalism and skinning, so I will be taking mining and the freebies of fishing, cooking, and first aid. I would welcome any suggestions for a second profession. I'd love the skinning on the rogue for the extra critical chance, but trying to grab a target to skin before the hubby does will be quite difficult! I would prefer an easy money maker, so that I can regain some of the sales I lost moving on in the world.
As always, comments are encouraged!