Newcomer to Wow: Pirates and Undead

Tomb of Uther
Tomb of Uther

I entered the Cape of Strangelthorn at the upper end of the level bracket (level 34 for a level 30-35 area), and I was starting to feel a little bit of a slow-down in leveling progress due to it. I was there for the experience, however, so I stuck by the zone to see the story through. It started a bit slow until quests finally directed me to the town of Booty Bay.

In Booty Bay
In Booty Bay

I have a love-hate relationship with the place. I love the atmosphere of the pirate town, and I especially love the fact that there’s a bank, mailbox and auctioneer there. But navigating through the town, up and down the ramps, and through multi-tiered buildings to find quest givers and receivers cost me more time and frustration.

The questline led me to helping the pirates in Booty Bay and protecting the town from another faction of pirates, the Bloodsails. To do this, I was charged to infiltrate the Bloodsails and learn as much about their plans to attack the city as I could. The fun part was working my way up from a deck swabber to a captain of my own pirate ship (too bad I couldn’t keep it… I had some thoughts, though).

Despite my best efforts, the attack on Booty Bay still came. I was most impressed at how the town was transformed into a fiery invasion through WoW’s use of phased content. I’ve been seeing this phasing working throughout most the zones I’ve quested through, usually at key moments in battle. A peaceful town transforms into a location under siege, then smoothly transforms back, or sometimes into an after-war state, as quests progress.

Since I’ve never quested in a group, I’m not sure how the phasing content effects other people – such as grouped party members – but I never saw where the content said it was solo only. From time to time, I’d see someone else in the phased content, so I know it wasn’t a solo instance. Just interested in how this tech worked.

At the end of the zone, I had two different quests leading me to new locations: A hero’s call to the Southern Barrens and one provided by War-Mage Erallier to help with the Battle for Andorhal. I chose to take the portal to Andorhal, and was dropped in the middle of a war-torn city.

Enter the Western Plaguelands

The Western Plaguelands is under constant attack by the undead Scourge, with several groups of the living attempting to reclaim and heal the land. The city of Andorhal is at the center of this, and using the phasing content, I participated in several waves of attacks on the city during my questing there.

I also found myself caught up in an interesting conflict between the two Death Knights, Thassarian and Koltira Deathweaver. I didn’t know their background, but felt prompted to check out their story via the wiki, especially after witnessing a truce between them.


I was quickly “whispered” to by Thassarian to keep my mouth shut about what I saw. I thought it was really neat that an NPC acknowledged my presence and communicated in such a way.

Sure thing.
Sure thing.

There were a number of highlights in this zone that come to mind. I visited the tomb of Uther Lightbringer – I know Uther from the short time I played Warcraft 3 waaaay back in the day. I also took on a number of hilarious quests helping upstart druid Zen’Kiki find his place among the Cenarion Circle. I loved how he’d join up in my party and just do his own thing, including failed shapeshifting and killing himself with moonfire.

Other Stuff

While questing in the Western Plaguelands, I reached level 40, which gave me access to a skill for faster ground mounts. I bought that, and a new improved turtle mount, and am really enjoying the extra ground speed!

Also, I’m very grateful at this point that I took the advice to level both herbalism and mining on my first character. For a while, I had no idea how I’d make the money required for future riding skill upgrades. By selling materials I find as drops and from my gathering classes on the AH, I’ve been able to save up quite a bit of gold! My only grump is getting used to the AH, especially after getting used to the ease of the ArcheAge AH, which automatically tells you the current lowest price per unit of any item you want to sell.

I’ve already moved on to the Eastern Plaguelands, but I want to wait to blog that until I complete the zone. Last night, I reached level 46, so I’m moving right along now that I’m in zones that are a bit closer to my level.

New level 40 turtle mount!


  1. It might be time to start thinking of addons, if you haven’t already. 😉 Auctioneer is a large bundle which includes a bunch of other things you may or may not need someday, but its main use is to make the AH much easier by providing (among other things) that lowest-price functionality you’re looking for.

    WoW has incorporated a bunch of people’s addons over the years, but there’s still a lot of room to improve the UI. And other elements, depending on how and what you play; raiders use a bunch of addons I have never bothered looking at, for instance.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! I do have Curse, which I use for harvesting and some map addons. I haven’t looked into the AH addons yet, though, because there just seems to be soooo many of them. Not sure what will make it more complex vs easier! I’m open to suggestions!

      1. Eh, mileage totally varies by player on those. The addons I can’t do without include one for the button bar (I use BarTender but there are tons out there), one to manage my alts (very accurately called Altoholic), and one to replace the terrible craft pane (I’m using Skillet atm). I also use XPerl Unit Frames, a mix-and-match modular addon you can pick and choose from to replace the basic game’s player/group/raid frames (depending on which bits you enable). And I’m a huge fan of CTMod for its mail mod, player buff frame and a couple other things.

        I used to be utterly hooked on Carbonite (a map/quest/other addon) but the latest patch borked it grande and it’s going to need a while before it’s properly functional again; the current beta version isn’t playing nice with my client. (So I’m using TomTom and MonkeyQuest to replace the major elements I wanted, which was waypoints and quest tracking.)

        There are a ton of class-specific addons I’ve never felt the need to use but that might be useful to you. I tend to stick to the ones that have been updated the most recently (which means they’re still being worked on) and that have the most downloads/endorsements. As with anything you download, be careful what you get and where from.

        The problem with addons is that you have to be ready to manage them whenever there’s a patch. In most cases it’s a fairly painless matter of enabling out of date addons (which rarely causes major issues), but it’s still something you need to deal with. And set up, though most addons now have Profiles which means you set it up once and then apply that profile to whatever other characters you want.

        1. Awesome! Thanks so much for the info. I’ll have to check into some of this soon. I only felt the absolute need for things like the map addons since I was totally lost in finding my way around the larger cities. 🙂

  2. Iirc, the phasing thing just flags you as having been phased, so anyone else who has that flag will be visible to you. In groups, if you have completed certain quests that phase an area, and are grouped with someone who has not completed those quests, then you will be able to talk with them in /party chat, but they won’t be targetable (so no trading, buffing, healing, etc) and you won’t see them, even if they are right next to you. In other words, phasing doesn’t stop grouping, but it makes grouping pointless unless you are both/all in the same phase.

    For the record, I hate addons in MMOs and only ever used the combat meter Skada during my time playing WoW. I had SilverDragon for a while to alert me to rare spawns, but they’ve incorporated rare markers into the native minimap so I don’t need it. By far the most common addon that people seem to use is a UI addon. I don’t have any problems with the basic UI, it’s no worse than other MMOs out there in my experience. I guess it’s cool that WoW allows you to modify it so heavily though…

    I loved the Zen’Kiki quests too! As for Andorhal, I played it from the Horde side, and what happens with Koltira after the truce is…disturbing. Was there anything else that happened with Thassarian, or did he just tell you to shut up and be on your way?

    I’m kind of glad that you didn’t go to Southern Barrens, as I feel that you really need to enter it through the Dustwallow Marsh zone backstory (from the Alliance side, anyway). In general, I think it’s a good idea to stick to the same continent when choosing your next zone, as both have intra-connected stories but not really inter-connected ones. Better to investigate the other continent from the start with a fresh character IMO.

    1. Ah, that’s what I was worried about with phasing. Great for storytelling, not so great for grouping. They did the same thing with phased content in ESO, which was a major reason I chose not to play the game. It was really frustrating to be divided from friends simply because they were on another stage of a quest than I was.

      That’s not an issue for me playing WoW solo, but if I were to join with friends, it would be something we’d have to keep in mind. It got very frustrating very quickly in ESO.

      That’s all I remember that happened after the truce scene in Andorhal. I’m curious now — what happened with Koltira from the Horde side? Do the Horde have a lot of different quests, or are there just minor changes in the larger events?

      Usually the Hero’s Call points you to a zone and helps you pick up the questline there. So maybe it would lead me to the Dustwallow Marsh backstory? Or is that area a lower level? I have no clue about the zone progression in this game, obviously! Any suggestions are welcome! XD

      1. The questing is a mix of both factional and neutral quests. Those Nesingwary quests to slaughter all of the Cape of Stranglethorn’s wildlife, they are the same for everyone. Then there are shared questlines like Andorhal, which approach the same events from the different faction perspective. Finally you have the faction-specific quests, like pretty much everything in the earlier zones (for you, Redridge Mountains, Duskwood, etc…for Horde it’d be Silverpine Forest, Hillsbrad Foothills, etc) where most, if not all quests are only available to one faction. I’ve heard that the Southern Barrens storyline is the most nuanced and thought-provoking of the zones in the game. You need to play it through from both Alliance and Horde perspectives to get the full picture.

        In the later zones, particularly everything once you hit the expansions, you generally have shared zones where each faction has a base of some kind and you are doing a reasonable imitation of what the other faction’s players are doing, with some overlap due to the neutral quests.

        I should also warn you that once you get to 58 you are eligible to go through the Dark Portal into Outland, so you should finish up whatever zone you are on and head there (it’s in the Blasted Lands). When you do go through, you are effectively stepping backwards in lore, since the zones you’ve been playing through reflect all the events of Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and the start of Cataclysm. Thus don’t be surprised if things get confusing lore-wise. It shouldn’t be too bad, but I don’t know how much it will affect someone totally new to the game, so just a heads up.

        And yes, the Hero’s Call points you to level-appropriate zones only, so Dustwallow Marsh would have been well below you (by 5 or so levels) if it was offering Southern Barrens. That’s why I recommended staying in the Eastern Kingdoms, it is a more coherent experience. You’ll probably end up going south to Burning Steppes, Searing Gorge or the Swamp of Sorrows after you finish Eastern Plaguelands.

        Oh oh oh and I just realised, you might not know about WoWhead! It is the best WoW resource you will ever find in one place, IMO. If you are stuck or confused about anything, that is the first place to look (if you can’t ask anyone :P).

        Too long post is too long so byeeeeeee

        1. So I should hold off on doing the Southern Barrens unless I play another character, or I should make sure to go through Dustwallow first if I want to experience it on this character (despite being a lower level)? I don’t recall if I had a quest that pointed me to Dustwallow, but I’m still not sure about what zone is what or where they’re located yet. Still getting my grips with the world in general.

          Sure, go ahead and spoil me. I usually won’t ask for info unless I want to hear the spoilers. Right now, I’m curious and I don’t know yet if playing Horde will be a possibility for me until much later. Might as well hear it while I’m thinking about it! 🙂

        2. Yes, if you want to do the Southern Barrens from the Alliance side, take a boat to Theramore and start from there. You might have found it already, but when you hit M to open the map, you can zoom out (right clicks) to the point where the zones are displayed with their intended level ranges. Also the map shows archaeology digsites if you’ve started that profession.

          Okay, when you finish the Andorhal truce scene as Horde, Koltira also /w you to ask for your silence on the matter. But back at the HQ, there is an NPC who has been involved in the questline all along, who turns out to be Sylvanas in disguise. And she has seen what happened. She accuses Koltira of treason, chains him up and sends him through a portal back to Undercity, with the heavy implication that he’s going to be tortured and/or never heard from again. Strangely she lets you go, with the suggestion that you led her to uncover this treachery so you are spared her wrath. Definitely not a happy ending.

  3. I didn’t expect you to already arrive in the plaguelands. Those used to be top-level zones (level 50-60). As for Thassarian, you’ll probably see him when you make your Death Knight and you’ll definitely see more of him in Northrend.

    The Death Knight intro is also the first use of phasing in WoW I’m aware of. The basic concept is that multiple instances are used and you’d seamlessly move from one instance to another. While it worked great for the DK introduction, it’s use in the wider world has been somewhat controversial: The more progression-based instances you make, the more you divide the playerbase.

    Perhaps they’ve found some clever solutions for this now, but back then, it was impossible to join another player who was in a different phasing instant.

    1. Yeah, I remember hearing about the use of phasing for the Death Knight intro areas way back when. I think it’s a great way to tell a story, but as I noted above, not so great when you’re trying to group. I can understand why it’s controversial.

      1. Maybe not so controversial anymore – the xp curve is so shallow that hardly anyone groups below max content (or the latest xpac) except with friends or for dungeons. One might debate that one way or the other, but it is what it is. On the bright side it seemed to me that a lot of the lower-level phased content is sort of designed to be enjoyed solo (esp once they start using loads of cutscenes), so go forth and enjoy! 😀

        1. That was the feeling I got from it – it was designed for the solo player. And so far, I’ve only soloed, so it’s not been an issue for me. As you noted, I’ve been leveling through this game like crazy, hardly even trying to. So I can see how the lower levels can easily fly by without need for grouping.

          Ooh… I want cutscenes! I’ve only seen a handful so far. 😀

        2. Levelling seems to go much, much quicker than before. I think it took me about two months of dedicated play to reach level 60 (the cap back then) on my first character. It was a major accomplishment and I still remember exactly where I got that ‘final’ levelup.

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