Before I started Fires of War, I ran an MMO blog called MMO Madness. I had commented several times there that one of my favorite things to do in WoW was to run instances. It’s actually more than just WoW, I’ve been a dungeon crawler for a long time. The funny thing was, as a DPS warrior, I had a lot of trouble finding groups to run with.

Admittedly, I wasn’t in the best gear while leveling – but who is? Regardless, the end result was that I sat in LFG a lot while questing. So, when I was able to run an instance, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I loved the scripted encounters, the strategy, and the teamwork it takes to push through a difficult situation. I loved the feeling of accomplishment when the group overcomes a near wipe, only to pull through at the last second.

So, I was happy when my mage got into Outlands. With all of the Death Knights running around, I was able to run Hellfire Ramparts and Blood Furnace enough to get every piece of caster gear out of them in just a couple of days. And with so many DKs, these runs were fairly easy to boot.

The problem is, instances have turned into my primary way of leveling. There are so many Death Knights running around that, as a mage, I’ve been in higher demand than I ever expected to be. I know, it doesn’t sound like a problem but, for the first time in my two years at WoW, instances are starting to feel like a grind.

Now, the logical solution is to lay off instances a bit. The stalling point is the XP. With an appropriate level group, dungeon running is an exceptionally fast way to gain experience. Case and point, I’m level 64 in Zangarmarsh and have just barely tapped into the zone’s quests. Now I’m faced with a decision, do I force my way through and power level to 68 and Northrend, or do I quest and fall further behind my guild.

As a PvE fan who’s never been able to raid but now has the opportunity, my natural inclination is to get to catch up to my guild as quick as possible. For me, that would mean at least getting to Northrend as fast as I can manage. When I’m there, I’m sure I’ll slow down a bit and enjoy the new content, but in the meantime should I grin and bear it?

Hm, such are the thoughts of a former DPS warrior with more opportunities than he’s ever had.