Which character are you leveling first in Cataclysm? That’s the question I Like Pancakes put to us all earlier this week, and it turns out to be more difficult to answer than I initially thought. My first instinct was simply to say, “Liore! Duh! Next question!” but the more I thought about it the less sure I felt. Cataclysm changes the rules for many things, like raiding and Battlegrounds, and expansion leveling is no exception.
Previously, expansion leveling for many folks — myself included — was big race to the finish. Install the expansion, stock up on energy drinks, and get your main to level cap go go go go go goooooooooooooo. I usually level as a holy smite spec (I’m a healer dammit!) which means that while I never leveled quite as fast as my DPS colleagues, I was usually somewhere in the first pack to hit level cap.
Cataclysm, though, has put new emphasis on having a cadre of leveled alts at a player’s disposal. With the new 10/25 lockout change both mains and alts can easily end up with almost identical gear, experience, and achievements, and in fact having one character for each type of lockout seems practical. Additionally, Blizz has brought in a few changes that encourage profession alts to level up, such as gated trainers and tighter level range requirements for crafting. The cherry on top, of course, is the new Guild Achievement system, which I suspect will reward guilds that have vibrant communities with many active alts.
The overall effect makes me inclined to get a number of alts to 85 around the same time, so instead of the usual main rush I may end up rotating through rested XP on a regular basis. Liore is still my favorite, so she has top priority. But Lunedi is anxious to start bashing in heads on 25s or 10s, and Thursday the mage wants to keep making money with high-level enchanting. And of course there’s the newest member of the bunch, Mercredi the rapidly-leveling future 10s tank, and the sooner the guild has an extra level 85 alt tank kicking around, the better.
Over all it seems versatility will give greater benefits to the player and the guild instead of the speed of yesteryear. My advice would be to enjoy your rested XP, and take the time to smite and shoot and stab the roses along the way.