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The First Five April 4, 2011

Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Leveling, Zones.

What makes a good starting experience for a new character? Do I begin as a lowly errand boy taking care of a pesky critters that have grown to numerous in our backyard, or am I a fresh recruit that is set to work making my homeland safe again?

The Shattering shook up the storyline of all the original races, but not all have them have that same feeling of being plunged into thick of the story.

Humans – Elwynn Forest

Welcome to Northshire Abbey. It seems the orcs have crossed over from the Burning Steppes and are threatening this peaceful enclave. There are some stray goblin assassins lurking around, but they aren’t stealthed or doing much other than tip-toeing around the trees. Some slightly more hostile orcs are in the burned out vineyard across the river. You kill some stray lieutenant who’s leading this “invasion” and are sent out into the world.

When you leave the abbey what happens to the orc threat? Gone.

Now it’s back to mine clean-up. There overgrown rats that need taken care of, and murlocs on the shores. Oh, future hero of Stormwind, time for some grunt work.

Trolls – Durotar

You land on the recently terraformed Echo Isles, and you’re put through a few training exercises before being sent of to visit with Vol’jin. The leader of your people wants to talk to you. Not the local militia leader, the big troll voodoo daddy himself. He fills you in on why he’s not in Orgrimmar, and that he’s thinking of taking his people and leaving the Horde, but while he thinks on it, can you help with a few things. You do some work with the raptors that your new race uses to fight their wars, and even single-handedly dispatch a naga lieutenant that’s capturing and corrupting them. And then there’s a cave full of naga to take care of with an npc shaman who’s been popping into the story, all before a final confrontation between Vol’jin and a naga sorceress that’s like a mini dungeon battle in its use of mechanics.

Then you leave the Isles, and find that the Alliance is trying to gain foothold in Durotar, and you the Shadow Council is still up to no good. No rest for the hero, you’ve got more enemies to vanquish.


Now this may not be a fair comparison, as the Echo Isles were added into the game fresh, while the devs had to work within the existing terrain of Northshire Abbey, but this much difference? Both took equal amounts of time to complete, but one felt like you did so much more in that time. I’ve leveled many alts, and the hardest part of playing a new class is the beginning. You know what your character will be able to do in the future, and with the new talent trees level 10 is an exciting place where your character really takes off. But until that point, you’ve got to keep me engaged enough not to notice that I’m just spamming one button. Some zones succeed, and others fall short.

Thoughts? What high or low points have you met in this post-Shattering world?



1. Oestrus - April 4, 2011

Hey there!

I have to say that one of the things I found the most interesting was that it feels like there were more changes in the Shattering that affected the Horde than the Alliance. It could be because I lean more towards the Horde and the areas that I am visiting and that I did get to see do lean more in that direction. It just doesn’t seem like the Alliance had much to show for itself, when all was said and done.

I really do enjoy the new Undead starting area and the new Silverpine quests were extremely well done. Same for Hillsbrad and I laughed out loud at the idea of the Alliance being completely purged from it. That was genius!

Very nice blog you have here, so far. Keep up the good work.


2. Stormy - April 4, 2011

I’ve now done the tauren, Forsaken, troll, orc and worgen starting areas, and I’m actually a little shocked at the variation in quality between them.

-I did the first part of the orc starting area this weekend on an orc warrior that I’ve since deleted (blech). The quests and storyline are exactly identical to the way they were in vanilla. As I deleted my little orclet I thought “I’ve seen this movie before.”

-The worgen starting area is the Team Jacob theme park.

-The troll starting area, on the other hand, is a masterpiece. Whoever designed this thing gets major kudos. As Rush said, you’re not just some flunkie clubbing seals for a few silver. You’re a new recruit in Vol’jin’s army, and he’s going to make sure you’re adequately trained and then let you participate in retaking the Darkspear’s homeland from the evil naga. Every detail of the zone is spot on, right down to the ambient jungle noises. I’ve done it twice and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

3. Fuzzy_Magicz - April 4, 2011

I think they’ve done a wonderful job with the Shattering – it must have been a healluva job to try and breathe life into so many old zones. Some zones are bound to be better than others, and even the ones with the same quests have been smoothed out considerably.

4. The Pink Pally - April 4, 2011

The variation in quality is astonishing and a bit disheartening as well. Makes me wonder if it’s the result of different minds behind the different zones (some people are just more epic thinkers than others) or did the dev team spend so much time on the epic ones that they had to rush the rest? When we look at and experience the truly well done quests and zones, it can make even the mediocre ones seem lackluster. I think it’s just human nature to compare things.

Rush - April 5, 2011

I remember back in the early days of information on Cataclysm, there was a map that showed which zones were getting heavy, medium, or light modification. But later on a dev commented that once they started changing things, they realized everything had to change, and it turned into a whole different animal. There are 3000+ new quests added/modified in this expansion, and for the most part, they’ve been fantastic.

Also, I have no idea how you’d make peaceful Elywnn Forest different. Little utopian areas like that don’t lend themselves to epic adventures, maybe Deathwing should have done some extra terraforming.

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