I finally hit 80 with my main last week. The last couple of levels went really quickly. I worked through a progression of quest hubs in Zul Drak and Ice Crown, got to see some cool phasing effects, and got set up for some of the main daily, rep grinds.
So, now what? The first thing I did was head over to the Argent Tournament area to do the Trial of the Champion instance. This is a really short instance, three bosses in 15 minutes. There is a small amount of trash before the first two, but its basically insignificant. When all is said and done, you get four purple drops from the three bosses. Lather, rinse, and repeat. As a whole, the group was pretty well geared, with me as the only "new" 80, but we had two random pugs with us and it was still trivially simple. After four runs, I ended up with four new items. Yay.
The rest of the game is all about the grind. You grind heriocs to get badges and gear for new 80s. You grind Wintergrasp to get honor for gems and shards for items. You grind your dailies to get rep to get gear. Of course, each faction has one piece of gear that you need, so you have to grind each one. Finally, you have to grind cooking and fishing quests to get the last of the recipes.
So far, none of these things has been difficult. I ran a couple of heroics with people that had decent gear, and they were trivially simple. I did a Wintergrasp battle, which was a lot of fun. However, this fight seemed pretty easy, which I assume is a combination of attacker usually winning and Horde usually winning. I've done a couple of the fishing and cooking dailies, which are cute the first time or two, but get old quickly. The cooking dailies allow you to get a new recipe every three days. With about 20 recipes available, you should have them all in two months.
I've been pretty underwhelmed. The graphics are great, the stories are reasonable, and some of the quests are kind of cool. I just have no desire to do the same thing over and over just to get better stuff to do the same thing over and over. I think I'm just so far behind the curve that its nearly impossible to find a group that makes anything challenging. And, to be honest, I think Blizzard wants it that way. They want everyone to feel like a bad ass. Wiping on bosses over and over to learn a fight is a thing of the past. Its much easier to put in that same amount of time killing boars, getting tokens, and then getting your gear. I guess more people would kill boars than wipe on a boss, even if means getting the same gear in about the same amount of time. Shrug.
I have a couple of low level alts that I play from time to time. I can play those toons and still get that sense of adventure that was there in the original game. You realize that it was a theme park back then, but that fact was pretty well hidden in what appeared to be a vast world. Now, the theme park thing is trumpeted as a feature, not a bug. Step right up, kill the "terrible" boss, and get an epic item as a souvenir. Shrug.