Yesterday was the launch of Cataclysm. I woke up at 3:00, managed to actually log in at 3:30 or so due to massive login server overload and began levelling. I had 3 achievements I wanted to get and by noon two of them were already out of reach and the third was looking frightening. I was not prepared.
If I had decided to get the realm first Alchemy I would have gotten it no problem. It took 8 hours at least for someone to get it and I could have beaten them and not even spent overly much money doing it. Instead I went for realm first paladin 85 and failed. My assumptions were not particularly accurate; getting to 81 required 1.7 million XP, so I figured that the progression would be similar to the last expansion and I would need something like 10 million XP to go from 80 to 85. On this assumption I figured I could be done levelling within 12-15 hours, perhaps quick enough to be completed before supper. I was wrong, as the XP curve went
9 M !!!!!!
That 9 million for the last level was hilarious. When I hit 84 (the same time several other people hit 85!) and saw that number I just laughed out loud. I was not willing to level for another 8 hours as I had already done 14 hours straight at that point.
It was certainly a brutal disappointment. I was monitoring my competitors and there was only one person I needed to worry about and he was just slightly ahead. That feeling of being behind and having absolutely nothing I could do to fix that was just wretched. Of course, being behind at all was my own fault for not preparing sufficiently. It turns out that running dungeons is a very bad way to level, and also that knowing every quest ahead of time is a significant advantage. If I had been absolutely serious about getting the paladin achievement I would have played on the beta server and levelled the whole way through so I would know all the zones, all the quests and exactly how hard everything was. I would have found out that I needed to level as protection instead of retribution once I hit Deepholm and I wouldn't have wasted any time looking for quest stuff because I would already have known where it was. If I had run the dungeons on the beta I would have known that they are challenging, take a long time and are not good experience and I could have just quested. Doing those things would have given me the victory, I am certain, and now I have nothing but the ashes of broken dreams.
That, and the option to spend nearly my entire amassed fortune, the result of years of accumulating money, to buy realm first jewelcrafting. The cost of doing so is so prohibitive it is insane, yet it is the sole remaining shining light I can salvage from my failure.