The “new” Old World: Darkshore
As I figure the worgen alt I’ll roll in a few days will be my way of seeing all the new content in the Eastern Kingdoms, I decided to take my druid through the Kalimdor quest progression while I wait for Cataclysm. First stop: Darkshore.
Memories from “old” Darkshore:
- Extremely annoying water-based quests that sucked for anyone who wasn’t a druid.
- A nearly impossible to kill named Murloc who has ganked pretty much every toon I’ve ever leveled.
- Red crystals, corruption spilling down from Felwood, and really pissed off wildkin.
- An immense zone that took forever to ride through (let alone run through), with a single flight path.
“New” Darkshore is one hot mess. The land is completely devastated, with peaks jutting up every few yards and a river that cuts through practically every part of the zone. Auberdine is totally destroyed, so adventurers instead begin questing in the new town of Lor’danel in the north. Really, this was the one downfall I found to the new Darkshore. While the destroyed land is visually and emotionally jarring, it can be something of a chore to navigate. Blizzard has clearly done their best to make sure that, should you fall down into one of the valleys created by the new cliffs (and you very likely will), there are plenty of cleverly disguised paths that will allow you to get back up on the road without a whole bunch of wall-jumping or swimming back to a shallow area. For relatively new WoW players, though, I can imagine that these paths may be a little difficult to spot since they won’t necessarily know what to look for.
The bulk of the quests here center around finding and saving any remaining survivors, as well as looking into how the disaster has affected the wildlife and other inhabitants of Darkshore (including the formerly dancing Shatterspear trolls at the very top of the zone). But I didn’t choose to quest in this zone first because I got to kill dancing trolls.
I took my druid to Darkshore because I wanted to see Malfurion. So what if he looks like some night elf kid whose mother always warned him, “Don’t you ever try to go into all your forms at the same time or you’ll get stuck that way!” So what if he’s been lost in the Emerald Nightmare for the entire storyline of the WoW MMO until right now. I don’t care that he’s a man-bear-owl. I think his new model looks completely badass. AND! He gives you quests! That’s right, the co-leader of the night elves, the first mortal druid needs your help! I’m sure it’s not obvious from my tone here, but I geeked out a little.
Aside from Malfurion, my favorite new spot in Auberdine was the Grove of the Ancients. It’s difficult to convey in a screenshot, but this area is now quite literally a grove made up of Ancients. They surround you, forming the walls and the roof over the grove.
If you complete all of the quests to help the survivors in Lor’danel, you will be rewarded with Withers, a non-combat pet who is pretty much the polar opposite of Brazie’s Sunflower. Withers is depressed and gloomy-looking, probably over the removal of the perma tree form for resto druids. Poor fellow.
Overall, I really enjoyed the new questing experience in this zone. The way that the quests – both their stories and geographical progression – flow together is vastly improved. Blizzard has really made sure that low-level questing still has a feeling of epicness, and has also found seamless ways to slip a few vehicle quests into the mix as well. (One of my biggest gripes about the worgen starting area in the early beta was the way the gimicky feeling of the vehicle quests there. Gilneas had far too many of them and they largely felt pointless and cumbersome. But there’s none of that in the completed Darkshore.) Had I played through this Darkshore on the first druid I rolled, maybe I wouldn’t have abandoned her in her late teens thanks to countless demoralizing deaths to Murkdeep.