After Hellfire Peninsula, the next stop is Zangarmarsh. Whereas Hellfire looked a lot like the Blasted Lands, and wasn’t too “alien”, Zangarmarsh is a completely brand new world. It’s basically a reminder of the Warcraft II expansion set “Beyond the Dark Portal”, as there were forests of mushrooms there. Well, here’s your forest of mushrooms!
Starting in the zone, characters would have breadcrumb quests leading to Cenarion Refuge, and their respective faction camps of Swamprat Post for the Horde or Telredor fot the Alliance. I must admit that I was always a little choked that the Alliance got this amazing looking outpost built into a mushroom, and the Horde just gets a generic Troll camp. The quests here would take up half the zone, eventually leading west.
The zone’s story has a lot to do with the Naga, and how they’re draining the lakes for their own purposes. They don’t say exactly what purpose that is, but I think it’s along the lines of: “It’s MINE! Go away!” The Dead Mire is an example of what happens to an area once the water has been drained out completely. Among the inhabitants affected by this are the mushroom people of Sporeggar. There are some quests to help them out, and a faction associated with them. The rewards include a non-combat pet, but it takes a very long time to get the reputation required.
The west side of the zone dealt mainly with the Ogres, and that they were chopping down the mushrooms for themselves and messing things up for Sporeggar. Because the fungal giants didn’t have mushrooms to eat, they decided to eat Sporeggar’s young while they were growing in the Spawning Glen. It’s up to the player to go and crush the Ogres at their stronghold, which is a small island using a downed mushroom as a bridge. Altogether you get to lay a beat down on a bunch of things to try and bring things as close to normal as possible.
After Zangarmarsh, it’s off to Terokkar Forest – normally. I try to skip Terokkar, as I’m not too fond of the zone, so I try to go right to Nagrand. There are entrances to Terokkar, Nagrand, and Blade’s Edge from Zangarmarsh, very much the crossroads of the continent.
One of the best parts about World of Warcraft is that there are many things to do that appeal to all sorts of people. If you have lots of time to play, there are things for you like dungeons and raiding. If you only have a short period of time to play, there are things for you like questing and professions. Today’s focus will be on the latter, and more specifically focused on one of the best things to do if you’re short on time: archaeology.
Firstly, I define having a short amount of playtime as being under two hours a day. Previously there were more dungeons and raids that could be completed in that amount of time, but with Cataclysm we’ve seen a shift to slightly longer time invested in those. The fastest random heroic that I’ve done was around 45 minutes, which falls into this time allotment, but that will be another post.
Archaeology was introduced in Cataclysm as a new secondary profession, added to the existing ones of: cooking, fishing, and first aid. This means that you can have all four without having to leave any out. The idea is to go around the world to various “dig sites”, where you’ll unearth certain races’ artifacts by collecting fragments from these sites. The benefits are mainly monetary from selling what you make, but also offer some fun vanity and other useful items.
In my continuing coverage of the new starting areas for the changed Azeroth, we come to the Horde. My preferred faction, the one that I’ve played a majority of my World of Warcraft career with. I’ve rolled alts galore before the changes, and I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one who has. After a while, the mind just goes numb and the starting zones became a blur until you just plow through it and get it over and done with.
Pre-Cataclysm, I know that all of my characters went over to Eversong Forest and Ghostlands as soon as possible. The rewards were better than any given in the other areas, and the flow was much smoother than doing the other ones. It’s a little bit sad that it’s now the opposite – any Blood Elf will likely try to go to Tirisfal Glades and Silverpine Forest as fast as they can, and with good reason.
One great thing that has been changed for all starting zones that is extremely useful is that there are flight paths in the starting towns, like Razor Hill or Bloodhoof Village. Less travel time is always appreciated.
Each of the remaining Horde races will be covered here: Orcs and Trolls in Durotar, Tauren in Mulgore, Blood Elves in Eversong Forest, and Forsaken in Tirisfal Glades. There will be spoilers ahead.