Friday, March 7, 2008


What zones in the game do I like most? And which ones will I rather pass if I can chose? I ask myself, now that I'm levelling an alt. Since you nowadays can level faster, it isn't required to quest your way through all the alliance available areas. I can afford to be a bit picky. And the question is how I'll land. If I make it easy for myself I'll let others make the decisions for me and follow for instance the levelling guides by Jame. Just go wherever he tells me to go. But if I leave efficiency behind and go for my gut feeling, what areas have I liked and how will I chose then?

Right now Arisal is just above 20, clearing most of what she can do in Redridge. That's a place that is all but mandatory, but that leaves me quite indifferent, if you compare it to what comes next: Duskwood. The eternal twilight there fascinated me the first timed I dared to enter it, and I'm still just as fond of it, with all those spiders, haunted houses, graveyards and all kinds of weird creatures. There's one big drawback: the terribly long way to wander to and through the main graveyard and Darkshire, where a bunch of quests are supposed to be delivered. Then it doesn't help that you sometimes can use Westfall as an extra fp. But apart from that - I'll never grow tired of Duskwood!

Soon I guess it's about time to take a trip to Wetlands. I'm looking forward to have a look at the tunnels once again - it's been long since the last time, but the end goal I'm not quite as enthusiastic about. Pretty dull open swamps, inherited by murlocs, crocodiles, dinosaurs and ooze, that don't really give me a kick, but on the contrary are rather saddening if it also happens to be raining.

After that comes Stranglethorn Vale, that will become some of an eternal project, where I can be kept busy for another 10-15 levels. It's hard to avoid it, even though I've actually met players who had taken it as a mission to prove that you can level up questing without ever putting your foot into STV. For my part I like the jungle environment pretty well, it's sort of boiling with animal and herbal life. What made me a bit fed up the last time I was here was the lack of fp in the northern part, which had the consequence that I had to put ridiculous amounts of time into simply wandering. Nowadays that is taken care of, something I'm very grateful of.

The nest step is obvious: Dustwallow Marsh is supposed to have got a great deal of new quests and of course I want to have a look at them, by the way I've never quested there very much, except for that swamp lady Tabetha, that you have to pay a visit to now and then, being a mage. Then I prefer desert, a real sand desert like Tanaris, not the redish sort like Redridge, Blasted Lands and Hellfire, that truthfully is a bit boring if you compare it to much else.

The zone that really made me on fire when I last levelled was the Un'Goro crater. The first meeting with all those mysterious things - crystals and seeds that I didn't know the use of - all the intense vegetation, the abounding life - and the living flowers, strolling around in the middle of everything made me exalted.

I was so happy about the area I had "discovered" that I more or less forced a guidlie that also was levelling up to come and join me: "Oh you really have to come here right away, its so cool!" it sort of bubbled out of me. And he was as happy as I was - even though we quite instantly were killed by some of the elites wandering around making life hard for unsuspicious newbies. We happily started to ride around, enjoying the process of discovering the whole crater right away, one dinosaur model after each other. I don't know why I became so enthusiastic. Maybe it was the limitations of the room - it's quite easy to orient yourself in there. Maybe it was the fact that I've seen the model of the crater in reality, the Ngorongorocrater in Tanzania, that misses jungle and dinosaurs, but like the game crater has an abandoning wildlife. Of course it brought up a lot of memories.

I've also always had a weak spot for winter landscapes. Maybe it's because of my origin, the first struggling steps as a newborn gnome, when I was amazed that I actually was doing real footprints in the snow. I'm looking forward to once again rush through Winterspring on my mount, even though I'll probably at that time impatiently be waiting to set out for Outlands. Eastern Plaguelands doesn't appeal to me at all, except for a questchain that I'd really like to do over again. The surroundings in themselves are gloomy, full of red fog, boring, no loss if I manage to skip it.

What about Outlands, what places are attracting me there? Basically it's a matter of mood. There are days when the yelling bright meadows of Nagrand seem as artificial and empty as the eyes of a Barbie doll and you'd prefer to hide in the darkness of Shadowmoon Valley. At other times Nagrand is perfect, like a small vitamin pill, full of colour and sunlight. Terokkar leaves me a bit indifferent and the same goes with Blades Edge, another gloomy redish area. Netherstorm on the other hand I'll never grow tired of, thanks to the nice SF feeling and the biospheres with it's wildlife that makes me think of my beloved crater. And as an extra bonus there are a bunch of nice instances, where you after each wipe instantly wake up, being able to repair on the spot without long transportation. That's a luxury that affects my attitude towards the whole zone.

Then there are a couple of places that I honestly don't know so much about. Being gnome and alliance I've never had any reason to make myself at home at big parts of Kalimdor. Teldrassil, Ashenvale and Darkshore I don't know much about. Stonetalon Mountains, Desolace and Thousand Needles I've visited and quested a bit in, but I can't say I feel at home there. Silithus I just sniffed at, being in a hurry to proceed to Outlands.

I suddenly realize that having so much left in the game to see is a luxury. I think I should leave my prejudices behind, put on my explorer glasses again and discover the world all over again. Maybe I'll find new favourite areas where I least expected it.

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