Pre Cataclysm Faction Neutral Stops

Ok so last but not least on the Pre-Cataclysm Stops tour are the Faction Neutral zones set to be affected by the cataclysm. These are spots that, at least from my experience, aren’t really heavier for one side faction or another, but tend to have quests and flight paths for both factions.

Blackrock Mountain: For the true World of Warcraft buff, you’re going to want to visit Blackrock Mountain before the expansion. This portal to what was once raiding hell started life as a group of dungeons ranging from the 52-60 5 man range to the 60+ 40 man range. Many folks spent their weekends here “with 39 other people and a guy named Bob telling them what to do” (from MC Raiders L). “But why, it’s old and teh lootz drops is useless”. Uh, because it’s going to change. Lootz or no, Blackrock is set for some changes during the Cataclysm expansion. Two new dungeons are set to be added onto the current set of dungeons. I’m totally stoked about this of course after running through Blackrock Spire and Molten core after the release of WotLK. Molten Core of course is the dungeon talked about most in the MC Raiders song released by the Myndflame crew (it’s cool to see just what the hell a Core Hound is, up close and chewing on your arm kinda personal, they’re so cute). Since the new additions to Blackrock Mountain will be for the 85+ it’s worth checking out now and comparing the changes later. Also might as well hit the rookery and pick up the Jenkins title while you’re at it.

Stonetalon Mountains: Known for Chimera, Harpies, and the happy Goblin logging camp, not a lot goes on in Stonetalon Mountains, well at least not past level 25 or so. Well except for the random Death Knight roaming through the zone looking for posies or ore. Stonetalon Mountains though may see some serous geologic upheaval during the Cataclysm and this zone will also see more goblin activity.

Azshara: Currently this is a level 45 to 55 zone. There isn’t much in the way of amenities here in Azshara, but it’s right next door to Orgrimmar, and pretty close to Astraanar. This is a pretty zone that seems pretty fall like and is home to ghosts, Naga, Furblogs and Hyppogryphs. Post Cataclysm though, this zone is going to see a LOT of changes. This area is set to become a low level zone for the new race to the Horde, Goblins. Word currently is that Azshara will also have a path directly into Orgrimmar, which it never had before.

Desolace: Here’s a zone that lives up to it’s name. Desolace has almost no trees and the landscape is dunes and cracked earth as far as the eye can see. The dungeon in this zone, though really long is pretty and fun to work though (also pretty easy to get lost in heh). Currently it’s not known if Desolace will change much, you know, if you’ll still be able to battle infernals or zap the Kodos hehe. What is known is that the sea level will rise and Desolace will become a lush landscape once more. Probably not something Shadowprey Village wants to hear (the Horde flight path) since it’s right on the water. Chances are too that it’ll make it a little more difficult to hit up Shellfish Traps for the Big Iron Fishing Pole.

Tanaris – Uldum: At the end of Tanaris there are some wandering Titans that look pretty similar to some baddies found in Uldaman. These big green guys seem to be guarding a door, but what’s behind that door has been a mystery for a long time. Post Cataclysm, the 85+ will be able to wander about in a new dungeon added into this area. I’m looking forward to it since it’s supposed to have an ancient Egyptian style to it. I love ancient Egyptian history and architecture, so hey here’s something worth leveling up for hehe.

Well that’s what I’ve seen of the Cataclysm changes so far that have stuck out for me. I’m looking forward to revisiting a lot of these areas and seeing how they change once the expansion lands. Should be pretty interesting.

Creeping at PAX

Hehehe, I got to go to the Penny Arcade Expo this year. It’s in my hometown so it’s silly that I haven’t been to it before now. It was cool checking out some developer panels and wandering around the booths.

Biggest item of note though….

I got to play a Worgen. Yes Blizzard had a booth at PAX and they had Cataclysm kiosks and Diablo III kiosks set up. It was soooooo cooool hehe.

For just for a minute or two I got to play a Worgen Warrior, and well, I liked it. I’m even more excited than ever! It plays about like I expected it to and from what I saw of the Worgen noob zone, I’m thinking it’d be fun to roll from scratch and check it out.

I’m planning on completing the pre-cataclysm neutral list this weekend. But err heh, I’m also planning on getting my Blood Elf Paladin to 40. Yes, I fell off the wagon. Heh, I really like the World of Warcraft, it’s just some of the players that make me want to claw my own eyes out with rusted forks. Yes, it’s that bad.

Turns out Scarybooster was 100% right. I’m enjoying being a certifiable meat shield. It’s nice to be the first line of defense for a change, that and not feel as if I’m wearing tissue paper and going after mobs with a feather duster.

“No really, just stand there and let me tickle you to death…. Please stop laughing this is embarrassing enough as it is….” <- Creep as a Priest. I’m a lousy Priest.

Ok that’s enough of the off trackedness.  PAX was great and I’ll have to go back next year for the full 3 days and just geek out.

Pre Cataclysm Alliance Stops

Here’s my list of Pre-Cataclysm stops that are more relevant to the Alliance side of things. It also includes some points of interest for folks that are looking at rolling Worgen once the expansion goes live.

Darkshore: I’d visit Auberdine. This is one of the first mainland stops from the Night Elf and Draenei noob zones. There’s two interesting quests there, one involves a Night Elf who’d lost his wife. The other quest involves fishing for a Dwarf. Both of which are worth checking out.

Hillsbrad Foothills: Yes this is a contested area, and it’s more Horde heavy than Alliance, but there’s also one random Alliance flight point. Yep it’s Southshore. Really the only quests I remember from this quest hub was just killing a bunch of Merlocks… bleh. Regardless though, it’ll always have a special place in my memory. Back when I was working on my Human Rogue in Aftermath I’d flown out to Southshore as a first stop towards getting to the Scarlet Monastery. On landing I was greeted by the rest of my party (a 70 Paladin and a fellow lowbie warlock) who were dancing naked (fortunately only as naked as one can get in WoW) on some boxes waiting for me. I just had to stop and laugh. Unfortunately I didn’t think about taking screenshots and I still facepalm on that one.

Wetlands: The Wetlands will also be tweaked to add a dungeon where there’s now a nice dragony outpost. I’d run through there on my Death Knight Geistig. For the most part I was just curious about what was back there. Now that she’s a little bigger I’d probably like to go back there again, that or get leveled up to 80 and THEN go back in there, muah hahaha. Ok I’d probably have to bring some friends, but it’d be something interesting.

Silverpine Forest: Ok well Silverpine forest is a Horde friendly zone. There are however some very uniquely Alliance features in Silverpine forest that you’d really want to visit as an Alliance to appreciate. You’ll especially want to visit if you’re like me and you’re looking forward to the addition of the Worgen as a playable race in Cataclysm. Also after visiting, it’d probably make more sense to you as to a) why the Forsaken attack Gilneas once the gates go down and b) why the Gilneans are siding with the Alliance.

Silverpine Forest – Gilneas Gate: Technically the walled off country of Gilneas is in (at least what I consider to be) Horde territory. There are some mages roaming about that are friendly to Alliance (that I have to remember not to duck around when running on an Alliance toon hehe). But there is a Horde flight path in the region and it borders on Tirisfal Glades where you’ll find the Undercity and the “Dark Lady” Sylvanas. Right now there’s not a lot to see here. At the Gilneas wall I mean. There’s some wolves and yep Worgen, leading up to the gate, but it’s walled up nice and tight. There’s some guards and refugees milling about, but not much else (other than a neutral vendor and he’s only neutral because he’s blind).

Silverpine Forest – Pyrewood Village: Now here’s a place that you’d probably want to visit twice, or visit at sunrise/sunset, preferably as Alliance. Why? Well this– village gives you an idea of what’s BEHIND the Gilneas gates. How’s that? Well sitting under the shadow of heh, Shadowfang Keep (level 18-25 dungeon), has permanently changed the residents of Pyrewood Village. During the day the villagers are human and they are friendly to Alliance players (hence why I recommend visiting as Alliance, so you can actually roam in and see what life there is like without having to kill everything). When the sun sets however…. Yeppers the villagers go Worgen! This is the happy little village that started it all and it’s definitely worth a stop off. Now considering the fact that the Gilneans holed themselves up before the plague they probably wouldn’t have known much about the Forsaken, that and if they’d gotten any word from the folks of Pyrewood Village (who are constantly raided by the Horde per quest requisites), then it makes sense that they’d rather side with the Alliance (who’d well never attacked them) as opposed to the Horde, who have, and do, because they’re Human and well we know how much the Forsaken LOVE Humans hehe.

Silverpine Forest – Shadowfang Keep: Now this little gem of an instance is set to become a heroic when the expansion hits. It doesn’t see a lot of action being a lower level dungeon, but it is fun to visit. Why? Well because it was the home of the Archmage Aragal who had a hand in making the Worgen what they are today. It’s also a really tricky little dungeon that’s got some pretty neat little twists and turns. There’s a LOT of things out to get you in this happy little dungeon. There are a lot of magic users, undead and Worgen wiling to take a chunk out of you. But if you’re willing to over look those little things, it’s worth checking out.

Westfall – Deadmines: Chances are if you’ve rolled Alliance you’ve been in the Deadmines. This is actually a pretty cool dungeon with scripted elements and houses a traitor to the Alliance. Pretty cool stuff. Post Cataclysm this little dungeon is getting a revamp to include a Heroic dungeon for the 85er’s. It’ll be interesting to see the changes from a level 15-23 dungeon to a Heroic.

Not a huge list but there’s more changes to the Horde side of things really. However keep in mind too that there’s some big changes coming for Ashenvale so stop by Astranaar, this is another Alliance outpost set to be damaged by the Horde during the Cataclyps.

Pre Cataclysm Horde Stops

I have played both sides of the game, but I really feel most comfortable on the Horde side. Mostly because it has just enough creepy to give it character. Because of my Hordie experience I wanted to start off with the places I’d visit on the Horde side, before the changes (at least so far) that may come with the Cataclysm. As stated before, this isn’t the list to end all lists, but the places I’d visit and why.

The Barrens: Ok now here’s a zone that’s been an integral part of Horde leveling for generations of Hordies. You’re not anyone unless you’ve looked for and found Manrik’s wife. This and other quests in this zone offer xp, some decent gear, and hours upon hours of grindy goodness. The Barrens is also home to generally one of the more active zone channels in the game (aside from trade chat of course). While I’m not sure how it the chat became the most infamous home of Chuck Norris jokes and other random or obscene conversations, meh, at least it’s a way to break up the monotony when killing an untold number of Quilboar, Hyena and Raptors. Sure The Barrens doesn’t sound like a place that someone in their right mind would want to ‘visit’ just to look back on fond memories, but you know, after leveling Horde a few times over now, I do have some fond memories of this place. Since The Barrens is set for some sweeping changes according to the Cataclysm website, I figured, hey this WOULD be a place to check out before all hell breaks loose. Here’s some spots I’d definitely like to visit, it’s not the end all list.

The Barrens – Camp Taurajo: Now here’s one little gem of a village that’s worth stopping into. It’s right on the border of Mulgore (the Tauren homelands) and will be one of the areas lost during the Cataclysm. In particular there’s one little gem of a quest at good old Camp-T that’s worth checking out. There’s a Quilboar in a cage (Mangletooth) that sends you out to kill Quilboar of an opposing tribe. In doing so and in return for Blood Shards, Mangletooth hands out some pretty handy buffs. When leveling in this region those are pretty handy to have. If nothing else it’s just one of the little things that usually gets passed up because well, it’s annoying taking care of the quests for that Quilboar. Also since this camp is right on the border of Mulgore, you’ll notice that the entry into Mulgore is wide open. After the Cataclysm, the way into Mulgore is set to be walled off, that should be interesting to see for folks who are used to looking down on the lush green valley of Mulgore.

The Barrens – Crossroads: Ok not sure how much good old Crossroads will change, but it is the primary quest hub of the Barrens (yeah you get some quests in Camp-T, but you pick up your first quests here at Crossroads). This is also where you’ll find the quest “Lost in Battle” to find Mankrik’s wife. On my old server (Uldum) Crossroads is pretty much nothing but an Alliance playground until after dark (presumably that’s when it’s time for the kiddies to hit the hay). So visiting during the day and looking for an NPC that’s likely dead won’t do too much for you. However visiting the Barrens by night can be pretty nice too.

The Barrens – Ratchet: Also here’s another hub that probably won’t change much but is still worth the visit while in the neighborhood. This is the neutral Goblin outpost that offers trips by boat to booty bay. There’s a few quests here to pick up including attacks on Northwatch Hold which is a happy little Alliance friendly fortification.

The Barrens – Shrine of the Fallen Warrior: This one is tricky to get to, I’ve tried a time or two without much success. It is something however you see as you fly over it on the way back to Orgrimmar for training. This little spot in the game is actually dedicated to a member of the game production team that died during the development of the Vanilla WoW (Link).  Well at least so it says on WoWWiki. I’m sure that this isn’t something that the team hopes to change during the Cataclysm, but if nothing else it is something to visit while in the Barrens. Heh, at least if for no other reason than the fact that it gets flown over so much, it’d be worth stopping by.

Ashenvale: Now Ashenvale has been an Alliance zone for quite some time. The whole place has the Night Elf stamp of purply goodness. Fortunately the Cataclysm is going to shake up the balance of power in Ashenvale. So I have this post set on the Horde side because there’s two Horde places to take a peek at before the Cataclysm changes.

Ashenvale – Warsong Labor Camp: This obscure little Horde encampment is set to expand to accommodate the Horde’s fortification needs. Right now there’s not a whole lot to see here, but it might be something worth checking out to compare the before and afters.

Ashenvale – Zoram’gar Outpost: Right now this happy little post isn’t much more than a flight path to get you closer to Blackfathom Deeps. There’s a few quests here to take out some Naga and an interesting little quest to aid a Hordie NPC to go up against a few waves of Naga nonsense, but aside from that there’s not a whole lot going on here. Post Cataclysm though Zoram’gar Outpost is slated for some serous upgrades as the Horde works to strengthen it’s hold in the zone.

Ashenvale – Astranaar: Here’s an off note for all the Hordies who’ve had to treck AROUND Astranaar to quest or to get to the Zoram’gar outpost. Astranaar is on the Horde’s hit list, so taking a look at it from afar now will give you a chance to really giggle once the changes hit.

Azshara: I originally had this on the neutral list, but really the changes made here will be more relevant to the Horde, even if the territory it’s self is currently pretty Neutral. So here we have a place where once again you’re fighting ghosts and Naga, there’s not a whole lot going on in Azshara. There’s some interesting quests for rubbings, to collect stones, and to visit a mage in a tower, but besides that it isn’t a zone where you’ll find players hanging out so to speak. There isn’t really an inn in this zone, just flight points. One thing to note however is that Aszhara buts right up to the backside of Orgrimmar. During the Cataclysm there’s some big changes set for Azshara that will open it up to Orgrimmar and introduce new mining facilities for the Goblins that’ll be added to the Horde faction during the expansion. Unfortunately most of the new Goblin areas are set to be added to the game upon release, so there’s not a whole lot to scope for in the meantime. However there’s all kinds of Goblin towns to visit if you really want to get a feel for the Goblin race and it’s culture. Hmmm… that might be a set of articles for another time though.

There’s going to be some more changes down the pike as Blizzard revamps the old world to allow for flying mounts and tweaks this bit and that bit of the map and it’s models. Honestly I’m pretty stoked about the Horde side changes. It’s kind of sad that the Horde will supposedly lose some of the Southern Barrens to the Alliance (why the devil they’d want the Southern Barrens so much is beyond me). In the end though seeing some of the Horde locations revamped and updated to look more like what we see in Northrend will be pretty awesome.

I mean let’s face it, the rough and ready timbers of the Horde have been due for an upgrade for a LONG time. Not to mention the fact that this also brings the World of Warcraft a little closer to the game Warcraft where territories changed a little more often.

Pre Cataclysm Project

So I’ve been working on getting together some posts on places to visit before the WoW Cataclysm expansion hits. Well I’d mentioned to my game buddy that I’d also been thinking about a Death Knight video that’s been in my head for some time now.  He’d been considering working on a pre Cataclysm video. You know that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea really.

So yeah another project in the works hehe. I’m thinking I can release the lists I have now with what screenies I have (and can add on later). I’m also looking forward to getting some video footage. That should be a LOT of fun. I actually enjoy making machinima, just don’t get too inspired do do it often heh.

WoW Touring – Interrum Ruins of the Scarlet Enclave

I still need to dig up a few more screen shots for my WoW tour articles. While digging around though I found these nifty screen shots from the Scarlet Enclave Ruins otherwise know as the Death Knight starter area.

You can get here via one of two methods. Head to the Eastern Plaguelands for one (You’ll want to be at least 58 to 60 before heading out or you won’t have a great experience). From Light Hope’s Chapel (the closest flight path) you can either head up through Brownman Mill and then around through the Noxious Glade, there’s a little cavern as the path curves off to the right. Or.. if you head out to Tyr’s Hand you’ll find the road through the fortification also leads back to the Ruins of the Scarlet Enclave.

I actually found the Ruins of the Scarlet Enclave after pickpocketing the guardians of Tyr’s Hand for lockboxes back on my Alliance Rogue. It was a fun way to get my lockpicking up to 300. Since I’m innately curious and I followed the path behind the Scarlet Basilica.

Pre WotLK Tyr’s Hand found on WoWWiki

If you take a look at those mountains just to the left of the Basillica, those aren’t in the current version of the game and there’s a path that’s been built around the larger stone building.

Path around the Scarlet Basillica

The Scarlet Enclave Ruins are actually pretty cool to explore. They’re nice and spooky. It’s also interesting to compare what the Ruins looked like when I was a Death Knight as opposed to the more ‘after’ state it’s currently in. There’s bodies, bones and broken stone everywhere. There are also no mobs which I guess is actually kind of nice when you get tired of bashing things. The sad part is that despite the number of Death Knights that have trained in this zone, it’s totally empty. While there I didn’t find any mobs or scripted objects like books, loot or otherwise.

Here’s the Square

Here’s an interesting spot beside one of the southern quest hubs, a farm house that’d been taken over

Here’s one spot where a building had stood, and where fledgling Death Knights perform one of their most interesting challenges

These ruins had been a fortification where Death Knights had faced some of their tougher first battles

Now here’s a spot though that is stuck in my mind, the Sepulcher quest hub. I liked this quest hub because it was very fitting quest hub for Death Knights and well a smart well defended spot really. It’s stuck in my mind however because of an odd little human touch I found there while I was stopping to check my quest log.

Kind of makes you wonder who the stuffed toy belonged to, and what had happened to them. This is really one of my favorite images of Geistig so far.

When I went back to the same spot though, it was pretty well damaged

And it was totally empty, so no heartfelt welcome was to be had from my lost plushy friend

Up closer to Acherus, where the landing zone had been for the Death Knight attacks on the Scarlet Enclave, there were some really spooky artifacts that were kind of neat to check out. There was a depression filled with wrapped bodies and an interesting circle of folks that well, hung out a little longer than they should have heh.

Here’s my Rogue taking a seat and hanging out in the pow wow.

Pretty intersting stuff really heh.

I kind of like the fact that the artists did leave some a nice spooky finish to the Scarlet Enclave Ruins. It’s also pretty neat that they actually look like ruins, you know fitting in with the events that would have occured there.

The downside is that this is also an open empty section of the map. I’m sure that a lot of the phasing in planning will probably occur in dungeon areas, you know spots that aren’t quite opened like this one is. It is kind of neat to be able to go back into this area and just scope things out, and I’ve never seen another soul back there when I’ve ventured in so that only adds to the overall creepiness. I just wouldn’t want to see a lot of empty spots like this one where once you’ve gone through the zone as intended, this is pretty much all you have left behind.

Then again for explorer type folks like myself, being able to poke around in areas like this and look for these little details, can be a bit of a bonus. Mostly because no one else bothers checking this stuff out because there’s no loot to be had here. Nope the only thing you’ll pick up here is a really creepy vibe, and some cool screenshots. Sometimes though, that in its self is pretty cool.

Touring the Old World Before the Cataclysm

Since reading up on the next WoW expansion Cataclysm, I’ve been debating touring through the places in WoW that have been announced to change. I’m a screenshot bug anyway and well there’s already a pretty good list of the parts of the WoW map that will never be the same.

The old world of Vanilla WoW is actually pretty cool to me.  Though I started playing WoW well into the Burning Crusade expansion, I still loved traveling and questing in the old world and I was really excited to see the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. So safe to say I’m looking forward to Cataclysm and I’m also looking forward to the changes they’ll be making to the old world.  Hopefully it’ll bring folks back into the old world and breath new life into a place that’s really been pretty empty.

I’ve been mentally working on some of the stops I’d make but since the list is getting a little bigger than I’d originally thought, I figure I should probably break it out into a few posts, starting with my favorite faction the Horde, then the Alliance, and on to the more faction Neutral hits.

I don’t work for Blizzard or have any inside track into what changes are coming down the pike. A lot of these things I’ve gleaned from the WoW Cataclysm site and from the info and press releases on WoWWiki. That means that any part of this is subject to change, I mean hell maybe none of it will change, maybe other stuff will change, maybe stuff I hadn’t considered looking at will change. The point of the exercise is just to take a look at the way things were, then maybe after the change, it’ll be kind of cool to compare the before and after heh.

I’ll also pose this question to folks who’ve been playing a while and may or may not still be playing. What places would you visit before the Cataclysm that really left an impression on you during your time in the old world of WoW?

  • Horde Stops (Link)
  • Alliance Stops (Link)
  • Faction Neutral Stops (Link)

Thoughts on the World of Warcraft Cataclysm

The thoughts are… Why do I have to wait so long!!!!

Yep I like the concept and so far I like the fact that they’re going back to revamp the old world. What I don’t like about most MMO’s is how static they are. They also only work on content for the last remaining members of their subscriber base… Yep the elitist raiders.

Though the raiders will get content in the world after the Cataclysm, they’re not the only ones *wiggles eyebrows*.

Player vs Developer says it best really here (Link). Blizzard is breaking away from the *Kill 10 Levels to Kill the Boss Mob* model and going back to a model that promotes solo player content. So yeah, you can kill the big bad boss if you want to…. or you can run back through Azeroth completeing one of the 100’s of new quests that Blizz is adding into WoW.

It almost makes me want to check out the old world now and visit the places set to be destroyed by the cataclysm. You know actually use my ‘Prophet’ title for once and display the way things are, but discuss how things ‘will be’. It’s an idea but not sure if I’ll have the desire or time. I know I could do it with Geistig without a problem. She could even hit the Alliance areas without too much hassle. But I think I’d rather go back through them as a tiny and do a little more leveling. Who knows *wink*

One thing though I’m really excited about though…. Worgen.

Sadly I love the Horde, but I admit, the Worgen are… well…. HOT. They add a much needed spooky element that the Alliance has been sorely lacking. I love the Horde for the Undead. They give the Horde that added touch of spookiness that gives the faction more depth. Sort of in a, “well if you think I’m evil, look at what these guys are bulding in thier basement” kind of way.

Checking out the Worgen, I think I’d be willing to re-roll Alliance to be a Worgen, but I think I’d have to make a Worgen Death Knight.  That is since they can’t be Paladins. Why Paladin… Well that’s a story for another day.