Whenever a new MMO or expansion is released, whether it's a AAA title or a lesser known game with a tiny population, you can be sure that there will be a group of people racing to reach the maximum level. Some may start out gung-ho and drop out of the race as the levels get a bit slower, but there will always be those that complete the whole journey to the level cap at a blinding pace. Sometimes there is end-game content that they are racing towards, but that certainly isn't the only motivating factor for tearing through the levels. There are those that just enjoy getting it done fast no matter what. Those that don't have the time to play enough to win the initial race may still spend each play-session in a grinding and questing frenzy.
As a contrast, we would also be able to find players that log on too much to be considered casual, yet still haven't got a character at max level in their chosen game. This is the "stop and smell the roses" approach to leveling, with the emphasis on the journey rather than the destination. This type of player will probably take the time to read every word of every quest, engage in activities that aren't related to progression, and just generally move at a far more relaxed pace.
We think there's definitely room for both types of players, and also realize that the player's approach may depend heavily on what a particular game offers. What we'd like to find out from you this morning is how you normally approach the leveling in a new game or expansion. What factors contribute to that approach?