Over the weekend I finally hit the magical level of 70 on my Shaman, Tanglefoot, in World of Warcraft. It was a long time coming, but that was my plan. I felt no pressure to hit level 70 until I was pretty much in the later stages of level 69.
When WoW first launched, I wanted nothing more than to just be level 60. So, I raced to level 60. However, when I finally hit 60 the game came to a grinding halt. I didn't have time to run most instances and PvP was still in an infant stage, so my time was spent "farming" the Auction House. I enjoyed that, but it eventually lead to a fairly lengthy break from the game.
The Burning Crusade, WoW's first expansion, launched during that break. I wanted to be there on Day 1, but I held off for the fear of lag, server crashes, and general idiocy surrounding most MMO expansion launches. TBC, to everyone's astonishment, launched fairly smoothly, and I missed it. However, that really doesn't bother me.
There was still a crush of people flooding through the entry areas of the Outlands and resources were scarce. That is one aspect I can say I thoroughly did not have to worry about, because I started my trek towards 70 well after the flood of players had steamrolled TBC.
Also, the auction house was full of bargains when I started. I easily replaced nearly every item on my character with a TBC green for just a few gold per slot. Due to the mudflation of items in TBC, I was far more powerful than most players that started TBC at it's launch. This made the first few levels relatively painless.
Unfortunately, there are a couple things that surfaced due to my late start: lack of groups and level 70 gankers.
With the majority of players already level 70, I often found myself begging guildies or random players for help with elite group quests. This usually meant I didn't complete said quests until I was a few levels higher than them. Dungeons, on normal mode, were also extremely hard to get groups for and at level 70 I still have not visited a good portion of the Outland dungeons.
Secondly, the fact that I play on a PvP server meant that I was ganked my fair share of times. Most level 70's have a) flying mounts and b) pretty uber gear. There was nothing I could do and only once did I ever get the upper hand on a level 70 who tried to gank me. But that is life on a PvP server. Someday there might be PvP, but until then, ganking is the status quo.
In the end, levels 60 through 69 came and went and 70 arrived. In reality, I am back at level 1. I'm just a baby 70, barely able to hold my own in dungeons five levels below me. Fortunately, unlike the original WoW, Blizzard planned accordingly and there is a plethora of new content to experience at level 70. Having purchased my first flying mount, I've unlocked the Barrier Hills and Skettis. I am slowly grinding battlegrounds for honor to unlock new equipment. All-in-all, level 70 is the beginning of another journey, which I plan to fully discuss later.