As of right now, here are Kiiva's stats:
3 days, 9 hours played (over 2 weeks)
259/300 First Aid
225/300 Fishing (tonight is fishing quest night! I am genuinely excited)
677g 66s in the bank <<< I am very proud of this
Now, I don't think that is too shabby considering I did it all by myself so far. Level 44 with 600g in the bank (and 16 more levels before I'll need to spend it). 600g that I earned from scratch with no outside help - just my own AH skills and selling whatever I pick up (no active "farming"). When Kiiva hits 60 she will easily be able to purchase her epic mount - starting from absolutely nothing, and with absolutely no outside financial assistance, and no grinding or farming or saving up after I hit 60.
I think that's pretty impressive! So there.
Hitting the fast forward button
A few people have implied to me that I'm making things hard for myself by not using the Refer a Friend facility to "go faster". Read: to race to 80 ASAP, so I can play the "real" game. Many people use the RAF system and could get from 1-80 in two weeks, not be "only" 44 in the same amount of time. They can't understand why I would want to go "sooooo slow", when I could rush to 80 and play properly. They see levelling as an inconvenient hurdle before getting to 80 and playing the real game. Why waste time on old content when you could get to 80 and start getting epics?
The truth is that I am enjoying taking it slow. But I also missed the Alliance towns and quest hubs. I had forgotten how Theramore looked inside. I haven't seen any of the Northrend Alliance towns at all (only experienced them briefly while accidentally riding through them on Keeva...). I want to enjoy this levelling experience, and come out of it as a level 80 character who has done everything and earned everything.
I have friends who run SM as soon as they hit 20. Over and over and over for 10-20 levels, to catapult them to endgame ASAP. That's cool, it's their choice. I did it a little bit on one character (dual boxing) but it's not really my thing. I don't consider it cheating, or wrong, or anything like that. But I do get a little defensive when people tell me I'm going slow... when I'm actually doing things the way they were intended (apart from not doing any group stuff).
I know they have sped up 20-70, but I still think I'm doing pretty well even after that change, especially considering that my tradeskills are pretty high. I intend to finish this with max professions and a decent sized purse, so I can concentrate on things like gear and rep grinds straight away - not having to double back to grind for inscription etc.
We could be running SM by now!
Anyway, the crux of this rambling is that I think there are three camps:
1. The "gotta get to max level ASAP" camp (using RAF, dual box SM runs etc)
2. The "I'm taking my sweet time and enjoying it, I don't care when I level" camp
3. The "I want to get to 80 fairly quickly, but I'm not rushing" camp
I'm hovering between 2 and 3. Yes, I want to get to 80 so I can gear up and heal again.. but I don't want to rush and miss all the content.
What about you guys? Do you rush to 80 ASAP, bypassing as much of the tiresome low content as possible? Or do you soak up the quest lines, run instances, explore and enjoy the "old" content?