So Elizà the rogue is about to hit lvl 79. Almost ready to jump into heroics, and then onto some raiding again. About time, after all most of us have always found questing a horrible grind. That is, up until I wandered into Northrend. The questing has been absolutely fantastic, a wonderful improvement on what has been done before. The first thing I noticed when I zoomed into the Borean Tundra was the lack of the quest Christmas tree effect. Remember when you got into a new zone Like Booty Bay? It was a sea of exclamation marks. You ran around gathering as many as you could, walked out of the safe zone and started running around killing everything that you saw, safe in the knowledge that it would be needed for at least one of those twenty odd quests that you just picked up. After a while they all blended into one another. There was no real story, no true progression. You were killing things, collecting stuff, and often traipsing from one end of the map to the other.
So back in Borean Tundra and I remember jumping off the ship, running up to the harbor and seeing something like two exclamation marks. It might have been three, but I think it was two. That’s it. ‘Not much to do here,’ I thought. So I did those quests. Came back out into the open air from the belly of a castle or a ship and there was another exclamation mark. Got that, did that one, went back. There were another two. I ended up questing all through the zone in this way until I had mostly run out of quests. Then I figured that I’d give Howling Fjord a go. First of all, the ship journey with the music into that zone is incredible. I don’t know what the Horde get, but that Alliance ship ride from Menethil Harbor is awesomeness. Got off the boat and there were about three exclamation marks if I recall. And each one lead onto another different aspect of a well told story. I was thinking that they had done a good job with these quest-lines in Northrend. I hadn’t seen anything yet.
Without spoiling anything for those who haven’t experienced it yet, around level 75 I stumbled upon a quest-line in the Dragonblight that led to a major battle and an epic journey through the streets of a city that I had never been to before, all the while fighting alongside some fairly well known Warcraft NPC’s. Very cool indeed. And a great deal has been written about this quest-line, and I love it. But the events that so far have impressed me the most came later.
In Icecrown I was sent to raid a place called the Shadow Vault. I had to find out some stuff, I had to kill some dudes, I then had to kill three really tough dudes, which I did. At the completion of this task my contact there hailed me as a true hero and informed me that I had saved the day and gained the Shadow Vault for the fight against the Lich King. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah. I mean, as he was telling me this I could see one of the big nasty dudes that I had just killed come back to life on a ledge above my head. Same old story – we do the business but then we need to suspend some in-game disbelief. My contact sent me back to my original contact, so I hauled butt to him. All he told me then was to go back to the contact that I had just left. What the hell? Why are you guys getting me to fly all over the place like this for? Do you know how inconvenient this is??
So I go back to my contact at the Shadow Vault. I fly in there and, Oh My God. The whole place has changed into a friendly zone. The three bad dudes that I had defeated were now working with me. There was a flight path, a mailbox, repairers, NPC’s selling stuff. I really had made a difference. I had done this. Wow. This was very cool.
A little while later and I did a similar feat for the Argent Crusade, securing another zone after a big battle where I wailed away on an epic machine gun. An all-round awesome experience.
I am close to hitting level 80, which is most important seeing as we have just set up a new raiding guild and I am the GM. But I’m going to miss questing in Northrend. It has been one of my best WoW experiences so far.
So hats off to the devs on this one.