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Well I said why I  am unhappy with some of the changes to the old zones, nwo let me take a look at what does make me happy as a player who had completed all the quests for loremaster before Cataclysm shook things up.

First off there are some areas where the story hasn’t progressed and seems at a standstill which is dissapointing (i.e Dustwallow is pretty much what it was) but in other areas the story has progressed incredibly well. In a Thousand Needles we finally see what the Grimtotem had planned. In Desolace we see the results of our interferance with the Gelkis and Magram Centaurs years before .. and then proceed to meddle further. Makrik, who can forget him! After years of telling him where his wifes body was and extracting minimal vengence we get a peak into what it did to him. In the Plaguelands (both East and West) we get a chance to see what occurs as we drive the scourge out finally. Its these sort of quest .. threads, that truly make a difference to those that have been playing a while. For new players its a good story, for older players its literally returning for a new chapter.

Secondly some of these quests, either those above or totally new chains do leave you wondering whats going to happen next. I am not talking about the chains that sort of fade out with no idea of what is going on but of those chains where you are caught up in the middle of somthing and literally left hanging, or when you complete something and are left with cryptic clues. Like when you help Magatha in the Thousand Needles,she threatens that the next meeting won’t go as well .. which always leaves you asking whats next. Perhaps a better example is in Swamp of Sorrows where as a Horde player you barley manage to push back the Alliance assult, from quest text you know that Stonard is ready to topple if they don’t get support but for the moment the threat has passed and then you are sort of asked to go see what the scouts are up to or what can be done in Blasted Lands while they wait to see whats happening.

That you do have an effect on the world is at the same time great because you can see the changes .. anyone else worried by united centaur tribes in desolace? .. but with the amount of phasing it does make the levelling world very empty. I really can’t decide if this is good or bad. I miss seeing people, I miss group quests and class quests but I really do like seeing the progression you make in zones.

Also there are so fewer quests where the questgiver asks you to go out and get 1 item and 100 kills later you are still looking for it (praise be, if I ever had to go after gorilla sinew again I wouldn’t be happy) which makes questing easier. The quests themselves are more relevant to the areas you are doing and the flow leading you from 1 spot to another is much better in classic. In fact I haven’t seen as many new players these days ask “where do I quest at X Level?”. While it does feel like you are more on a scenic railroad then exploring it does allow for a smooth storytelling, which to me is important.

So lets recap this thread and the last:

Good:
– Smoother more relevant questing
– Some Incredible new story lines
– zone phasing
– hints of future possibilities
– Generally better drops and quest mechanics, including some vehicle quest and new shapeshifting quests

Bad:
– Zone phasing can lead to isolation
– some Zones / Quest chains feel incompleted
– Less exploration and freedom in choices

Overall I think that the new zones are balanced, even if they do leave me a little wanting. I still mourn the loss of class quest and epic quest chains (like the sceptre of sands, parts were boring but it did have its truly epic moments) but in general the new zones have a much better feel to them quest wise then the old did and fit better with the world at large. In my opinion anyway.

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Truthfully this weeks shared topic over on Blog Azeroth by PvE Rogues is one everyone can relate to, and one which I didn’t initially feel inclined to write about (but have since done so)  “What is your favourite Race”. Now if it isn’t already obvious my answer is ..

You can’t help but admit that they do look so imposing,  whether they are a hunter a druid or a Death Knight. For me there is no question. It Tauren. The gentle giants are filled with a dignity and stoic perseverance that no-one can fail to admire them be they Horde or Alliance. Yet for all their seeming docility, when their rage is earned and their wrath truly unleashed they are now more then ever a force to be reckoned with.

The Taurens storyline has always been one of struggle whether it was against the disdain of the night elfs, their persecution by the centaur, their establishing a new homeland, or most recently their betrayal by one of their own cheiftains as well as the Orc they had beheld as a new ‘honourable’ Warcheif.

Yet despite this they struggle, they grow, their strengths unite them as well as bind others, like Thrall, almost unwittingly into aiding them and truly taking their council. I would think from a lot of talk that of all races in-game that are playable this race could truly possibly be the most neutral or them all, and they are remarkable peace makers and pacifists.

Yet when their ire is raised they will and do forcefully lash out. Cairne was an easily recognisable hero of the Third War, Baine has already avenged his fathers death, in the Southern Barrens, Stonetalon and Thousand Needles the Tauren work almost tirelessly to see that their sacred places and the homes of their people are cared for and avenged. While some of these are actions that show direct might and strength others are shown remarkably tempered with compassion.

It is I think this strange dichotomy that to me, makes Tauren the ultimate race in World of Warcraft. If Tauren were ever taken away (and lets fervently pray they never are) Trolls would make a spectacular second choice, or Dwarves a more than viable third option, but that reasoning is for another time!

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