I've been leveling a few Draenei alts off and on and finally figured out just why it is that I keep rolling the damn things in addition to my beloved Tauren; their starting quests rock. You wake from stasis, meet the locals, save a princess, make early ties to the Alliance and find out why there's a good reason the some of 'em won't trust you right off the bat, discover nefarious deeds afoot, fight a dragon, and then save your people and get a cool tabard. "Find your way back to the Outland, Hero of Argus," Exarch Admetius tells you, in a nice preview of things to come, and Velen has a good lore moment with you shortly afterwards.
Having leveled a toon out of every starting area to at least 20, it's hard not to notice that some areas make it a lot easier than others. I don't mean the general ease of leveling per se, but just how fast the time seems to fly by. For all that a certain percentage of the playerbase frowns on RP on non-RP servers, most peoples' favorite quests do have an element of RP to them, or at least the RP sense of being fully engaged with the world. And in that respect the Draenei starting zones are, in my opinion, unparalleled. If I had to rank them --
1. Draenei: Hands down the best starting area.
2. Human: Very good selection of quests and the first glimpse into the long, winding Defias subplot.
3. Undead: I have to bump the Forsaken up if for no other reason than the creepy introductory bit and the guy right outside the crypt who shrugs, "We almost threw you on the fire with the others." These people mean business and they're really the only Horde race pre-BC that had a clearly defined sense of purpose. Some of the beginning quests are also heartbreaking.
4. Blood Elf: This could just be a bit of bias that's the natural result of the Blood Elves being in a very different place mentally than the Draenei are as BC begins, but there's a sense of detachment with them that just doesn't work out as well. Still, good history and lore in their 1-20 quests, and The Lady's Necklace is an undeniable whopper.
5. Tauren/Night Elf: These are somewhat similar to each other in that each has a few good moments but nothing really outstanding. If you play a Druid there's a little nod to the existence of Druids on "the other side" and this little quest is still one of my favorite in the game.
6. Orc/Troll and Dwarf/Gnome: These really seem to stand out the least. For all I know I'm ranking Tauren/NE ahead of them just because my main is a Druid, but there weren't many moments leveling in these areas that left much of an impression.
I am now faced with the prospect of taking yet another Draenei out into the cold, cruel world of Azeroth. Maybe I'll just roll another one....