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.
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.
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.
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.