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.