Faeldray and Nina have both written very interesting articles lately about why they love the leveling process and are in no rush at all to get to 70.
My main response is both a very emphatic "Good for you guys!" and "I agree!" I have long been a proponent of "the game is here for fun" attitude; I've encountered way too many people who have made it a job or some sort of contest for weird bragging rights over who has leveled the "hardest class" with the "hardest spec" on the most "hardcore server". There are people in my guild who enjoy running old-world dungeons like Scholomance for the experience (and not as in the "point" kind) and the fun of it. We've been accused before of being "noobs" for not exclusively running Outlands stuff instead. We shrug it off because we're having fun. I've had people tell me that having an "easy-mode hunter" on a non-PvP server invalidates my skill in a the game or my hard work in getting to 70. I shrug it off because I love hunters and because honestly, if you think the type of server I play on in a video game determines my status as a person, then I'm not the one with issues. =P But the point remains that you will always encounter people like that who poke fun at your experience.
My mantra, which has been my mantra basically since I started playing, is this: Don't let other people ruin your enjoyment of the game. I often find I have to repeat this to myself when I'm encountering others who are like this, or people who are being stalkery or overly-dramatic, or whatever. You choose to have fun when you play WoW. Don't let others choose it for you.
Anyways, now that I've got that out of the way. As somebody who also really enjoys exploring the game world (it's been posted on my blog sidebar since day one!) and who loved, and still loves, the whole solo'ing, quest'ing, and tons-of-alts thing, I have been inspired to write about why I'm rather enjoying the level 70 endgame. Because for the longest time, I didn't think I would. I remember thinking "Oh man. I don't want to get to 70. There's nothing really to do at 70 except instances and PvP." As I got closer to 70, I started learning more and more things that you could do, but I was still a little leery about it. However, now that I'm here, I'm quite loving it. Is it a different sort of game? Yes. But that's why I enjoy it so much.
A few things I really like about being level 70:
1.) New Goals: One of the things I like about questing and leveling is being able to feel that thrill of getting closer and closer to your level and then, ding! The bright golden flash and you've met your goal. I love that build-up of progression and reward. For a long time I was afraid that I would really miss that once I hit 70. But the truth is, it's still there. It's just in a different form. You have trade skills to work up. You have reputation to build up so you can get fun new things. If you like PvP, you have honor to work for so you can also get fun new things. If you like exploring, there are neat areas in Outlands that you can only get to via flying mount. You have awesome new quest lines that only open up once you hit 70. Heck, I've still got hundreds of quests left to do-- good old fashioned solo'able quests-- I was certain there wouldn't be anymore of those once I hit 70 but I was quite wrong.
So many goals to set!! I love it. To be honest sometimes I'm overwhelmed with all I want to do with Tawyn but then I remember I've got plenty of time. I want to relax and enjoy the "Endgame ride" the same way I enjoyed the "leveling ride".
2.) Class Variety: And an Even Better Enjoyment of Alts: Bear with me on this one because it sounds kind of weird. Basically, here's the deal. I don't know how it is with other classes, but with hunters, the mechanics of how the class is played in PvE change dramatically once you hit level 62 and get Steady Shot. As the levels continue to go by and you get Kill Command and Aspect of the Viper and (to a lesser degree) Misdirection and Snake Trap, the mechanics continue to change until eventually you are playing your hunter entirely different. I'm not exaggerating when I say that if you took level-60-Tawyn and lined her up besides level-70-Tawyn and asked them each to kill a mob... after the initial Hunter's Mark/Pet Attack, these two hunters would be played entirely differently. Different shots. Different shot rotation. Different timing. And possibly a different method of holding aggro on the pet. Furthermore, if you were to inspect the gear of these two hunters, you would even see some differences in what each one is "focusing" on, in terms of stats.
"What does this have to do with anything, Pike?" I hear you asking. Well, here's the thing. Pre-level-62 hunters and Post-level-62 hunters are so differently played that it's almost, but not quite, like playing another class. I'm sure most of you know by now that I can really only play hunters. I would like to be able to mess around with other classes, but they just don't feel homey and cozy enough to be a good fit and I end up coming "home" to my hunters. But with the differences between an old-world-hunter and an Outlands-hunter, I can experiment with two different types of playstyles, almost two different classes... both of which still possess that wonderful familiarity of hunterness.
My alts are even more ridiculously fun to play now than they ever were. Why? Because I love being able to jump between two playstyles of hunter like that. I love being able to hop from Tawyn to Lunapike and I love the fact that they are played differently. It's interesting and fun. And what I've learned (or re-discovered) on one lends itself beautifully to the other. Once Lunapike hits 62 I'll start focusing on another hunter (alongside my original two of course), because I always want to have one that is in those lower-levels, so I can always have that "bounce" going on.
3.) The people: I've never really been too much of a "people person". Oh I love my friends, but I was always one of those shy-loner types who really hated doing, say, group projects in school. I think this is a big reason why for a long time I shied away from doing group quests and instances in WoW. (The other reason was that people in PuGs tended to yell at me when I was a newbie, and that made a really big negative impression on me.)
But I can't say enough good things about the people I have met in this game. I have made some great new friends through my guild and through "sister guilds". We all do instances together not just for "phat lewts", but because we enjoy doing it as a social activity. It's fun to all work together for some common goal, knowing that we will be immediately forgiven if we make a mistake or are still learning.
Our guild recently decided we want to give raiding a shot. Why? Because we know how well we work together in five-mans and how much fun we have. We just want to try bumping it up a bit in intensity level. If we fail, that's okay. We're trying in a safe environment-- that is, with good friends-- and in the end we all just want to have a good time... that's the whole point of the game.
So... there you have it. The confessions of a girl who initially figured she would have absolutely nothing to do at endgame and has been proven wrong. Now, I'm not saying that any of you will have the same experience as me. Nor am I saying it's bad if you end up not liking leveling, or not liking endgame (I've met people who have tried both and strongly favor one or the other.) The main reason I wanted to post this, was to give newer-WoW-players who are maybe somewhat like me, a look at what types of neat things they can expect at endgame when all they ever hear about are the hardcore arena-people or 25-man-raiders. Level 70 is not just for those people, and don't let anybody tell you that is. You play the game the way you want to play it. The way it is most fun for you. If going into instances and doing the highest DPS gives you your kicks, then do it. If sitting in the warm sun at Ratchet and going fishing is your thing, that is a just as valid a way to spend your $15 a month. And don't let anybody tell you otherwise. =D