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Deathwing’s Extreme Zone Makeover April 1, 2011

Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Leveling, Zones.

(Note from Stormy: You didn’t think I was going to do this blogging thing all by myself, did you? Silly reader! One of the cool things about WoW is that it allows you to meet and get to know cool people from all over the world, and I’ve got a couple really great “WoW friends” that I’ve asked to come along for the ride. This morning brings us the WoW blogging debut of my good friend Rush. I asked him to join us because he’s been playing WoW since 2004 and has vast knowledge of The Way Things Were, so he offers a perspective I can’t. Welcome, Rush!)

Hi! Stormy’s friend Rush here. He’s invited me to join in on his blogging adventure, and share my six years worth of experiences and perspectives in Azeroth. I’m going to start with one of my favorite zones that got reborn in the Cataclysm.

Stonetalon Mountains

Not that long ago, this was a zone that was a brief stopover along your adventures in Kalimdor. It overlapped with the other zones in the area, and was entirely possible to skip on your way through. It had a level range of 15-25, but didn’t have enough quests to carry you through that span without having to bounce out and level somewhere else and come back. Plus, the stories of the zone were non-existent.

If you were Alliance, half the zone was irrelevant to you. There were a few quests on a bluff overlooking Windshear Crag, and involved a trip to Stormwind in the midst of the chain. There were a few quests at the Peak, and a few more in the Charred Vale before you headed south into the wasteland of Desolace.

If you were Horde, you’d probably be introduced to the zone with the Grimtotem. But you might have already been so high level that they were trivial. You might progress deeper into the zone, but since these quests kept sending you back to the border of the Barrens, you might not keep going. If you did, you’d get little outposts of quests in Malaka’jin, Windshear Crag, Sun Rock Retreat, and on all with little or no connection to each other. Did you know about the human and the water elemental on the bluff overlooking Sun Rock Retreat that gave quests? One of those quests sent you backtracking to a cave to kill kobolds that were almost certainly even more trivial to you than the Grimtotem that you started the zone with. If you stuck it out with the zone you ended up with a bunch of quests in the Charred Vale that had you running all over killing lots of foozles, and trying to find seven of each kind of harpy (except for the two types that were everywhere, but not part of the quest)

Then Deathwing happened. And the Horde and Alliance started really hating each other again. And now the zone is completely different.  Both factions enter the zone through the same gorge that’s been blasted from the mountains separating the zone from Ashenvale, and immediately you are plunged into the next phase of hostilities. It all revolves around a large bomb that the Horde has attached to a large hot air balloon, and it’s a race to ensure or stop the destruction of a conclave of druids.

The Alliance have a chain of events where they just barely miss stopping the progress of the bomb. The Horde players become a part of the murderous general’s army and move up through the ranks until you realize just how crazy your leader is, uncovering the killing of a tauren chieftain’s wife and son.

Rather than moving in fits and starts through the zones with side adventures to other places to level up (or retrieve something from Stormwind), you spend five levels in the kind of direct faction confrontation that never existed in the original Azeroth. And when you watch helplessly as the bomb explodes, you see phasing happen before your eyes.

One of the oldest complaints about MMOs is that the persistent game world makes it difficult to feel like you make a difference. This zone does not suffer from that problem, and while you ultimately fail to stop the destruction of the druid enclave, your actions (albiet scripted) have an impact on the zone. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.



1. Fuzzy_Magicz - April 1, 2011

I wish I had cool WoW friends who would guest post on my blog D:

Anyway, ditto on the stonetalon mts.

2. Zinn - April 2, 2011

I had my very first pvp experience in Stonetalon Mountains. It started out with me running for my life, and that is pretty much how my pvping has been throughout the years ^^ For some reason I kept away from Stonetalon Mountains when questing later on. I think it was because of those pesty harpies. But it still has a place in my heart, and I loved playing the new quests there.

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