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2-11-2012 @ 11:56AM
I'm actually now working on questing through all the old zones again on my main to get these new zone-specific achievements, despite already getting Loremaster pre-Cataclysm. I've already seen all of Eastern Kingdoms again on two alts (except for Duskwood - need to rectify that one day!), and most of Kalimdor, but am not quite done yet (still have to do Feralas, Thousand Needles & Tanaris). That being said, here's my top 5 so far:1) Badlands. It may not do it for you visually, but for me it was one of the best surprises of Cataclysm for me. I had always avoided this zone like the plague before, but now I absolutely love it. I've done it on both my Alliance hunter and Horde warlock. It was a blast both times. Theldurin may be my favorite secondary character in WoW at the moment.2) Silverpine Forest. This is an awesome example of what introductory zones SHOULD be like for every race. You get a retelling of current events from your own faction leader, Sylvanas herself, you end up feeling like a pivotal player, the story is pretty epic even if it's on a smaller scale compared to the rest of the game, feels personal somehow, and you understand what the Forsaken are all about when it's all over and done with. Elwynn Forest/Westfall, Dun Morogh/Loch Modan, Teldrassil/Darkshore, Durotar/the Northern Barrens, Azshara (particularly with regards to the current doings of Gallywix), and Gilneas should have all had similarly stronger focus on the cultural history of the featured races and their faction leaders. (In Gilneas' case, half their story was lost to Silverpine! Blizzard needs to fix this one day by adding in an early questline that will take Worgen players into Silverpine similar to how Forsaken players got to visit Gilneas.)3) Hillsbrad. Had a tough act to follow in Silverpine, and succeeded. One of the best zone revamps as far as overall levity and storytelling entertainment. After the serious quests of Silverpine, that was needed, so it was smart of Blizzard to do. Leveling as a Forsaken player, something I had always dreaded in the past, is now the most entertaining way to level in the game!4) Eastern Plaguelands. Another excellent revamp. This zone used to be so dreary to level through; now it's a lot of fun and very engaging. The Caravan and their cast of characters was a brilliant addition. It's no longer tedious to move around there, and when you're done with the Plaguelands, you almost feel like you just hit the endgame of a small RPG.5) Azshara. Now Goblinland, the reason it makes my top 5 is that it's now a great leveling alternate to the Barrens, which was needed for a long time. It also happens to be a great example of how a designer's imagination can completely reinvigorate an old questing zone. Goblins now have their own paradise to bask in, and you get to learn all about what they're all about. On a sidenote, Gnomes need a similar zone; all they have is northwestern Dun Morogh. Kind of a shame as I can see a zone dedicated to Gnomes as being just as fun. (Hint, hint, Blizzard: there's a LOT of untouched area on the western coast of Dun Morogh...)Honorary mention: Redridge Mountains. This may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I thoroughly had fun with this zone and its Rambo spoofs. It was a lot more fun than it used to be (and I leveled through the old Redridge on about six Alliance characters! I was relieved for a change of pace!)Un'goro Crater. Used to be an annoying zone as far as how much travelling you had to do to get to all the quests. Now all the quests are easily reachable from their questgivers and the addition Western Plaguelands. I liked the conflict between Horde and Alliance, but some of the quests here did feel forced (particularly Thassarian and Koltira, as well as the Menders Stead quests). Also, since I first did this zone on my dwarf hunter as I was leveling him, I was left in a state of shock as the Alliance was driven out of Andorhal almost completely. And - though my main is a Horde character - I was actually miffed! (Maybe that's a plus, though - since the story actually touched on my emotions that much.)Northern Barrens. If nothing else, riding shotgun (ha!) around the Barrens certainly helped the zone feel a lot more tolerable to level through once again.Zones that most make me sadface:1) Arathi Higlands. Before Cataclysm, I considered this zone to be one of the most boring questing zones in all of WoW. After...? Nothing's changed! Okay, besides a little Forsaken camp that now gives the same quests that you used to get straight from Hillsbrad... and also, a new direct path to the Hinterlands is available now so that you can get out of there as quickly as possible. Regardless of these minor changes, I nominate this zone as the one most in need of a revamp in the next expansion. I would actually not mind seeing the Alliance completely take over this zone just as the Horde did Hillsbrad (eye for an eye!), and to see a re-construction of Stromgarde Keep. Bye-bye Hammerfall. Horde players can easily move on from Hillsbrad to the Hinterlands without much of a problem, anyway, with a few transitional quests sprinkled in between the zones. (Alterac Mountains used to have more quests before it became part of the Hillsbrad zones...)2) Tie between Burning Steppes/Searing Gorge. After Badlands, I was so excited about these zones, thinking they had as much to offer as the Badlands as far as fresh questlines. These zones are also pretty much World of Warcraft's version of Mordor, so I was also expecting something new and similar in vein to that. Besides the admittedly amusing Lunk, I was left wholly disappointed. Except for the skirmishes between Alliance and Horde in the Swamp (which I was glad for), the rest of the Eastern Kingdoms after the Badlands felt rather uneventful. This was a shame for these zones as I felt there could have been more done with them as far as introducing players to the threat of Blackrock Mountain, etc.3) Desolace. Another zone revamp that initially raised expectations, the place actully ended up still being a grindy bore and actually stopped one of my alts from exploring Kalimdor any further! (One day, Feralas...) They might as well not have bothered with the addition of the new grove, though I still appreciate the change of scenery, brief as it is.Ok I'm done. Sorry for the wall of text!
2-11-2012 @ 12:02PM
Whoops, didn't finish my Un'goro Crater summary - the addition of Maximillian's quests were fun, though I miss the Linken quests.
2-13-2012 @ 10:55AM
"I would actually not mind seeing the Alliance completely take over this zone just as the Horde did Hillsbrad (eye for an eye!), and to see a re-construction of Stromgarde Keep. Bye-bye Hammerfall."And that would be a great balancing point for alliance after the loss of Southshore.
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