I think it’s fantastic and most people agree with me. I’m filtering out several things of course: all the whining people have been doing about the class mechanic changes and the normalizations: all the bitching from the raiding elite about having to quest and how much they hate it; the inevitable wailing about replacing epics pried from the dead hands of testing raid bosses in Ice Crown Citadel with nasty quest greens.
I find some gripes difficult to comprehend. Orgrimmar for example. Blizzard had no choice but to redesign the zone for flying mounts, since all of it was a simply two dimensional set dressing like a cheap western town: all building front walls and little or nothing else. The new Orgrimmar is built on more or less the same footprint as the old (go on look at the map) and after a few days I started to recognise where I was. It’s just like a town you haven’t visited for years that seems to have completely changed then you slowly begin to notice buildings and landmarks you recognise and slowly it all comes back to you.
The new slightly more aggressive styling is consistent with the Orc nature and sits cofortably with the preparing for war stance of the Horde. I like the idea of Orgrimmar as the Horde capital city with new Tauren and refugee Goblin zone. The Valleys of Spirt and Wisdom were always of little utility so there tranformation and the addition of new areas above Orgrimmar, with Zeppelin towers, the Flight Master and zone portals is very welcome and well thought out.
Every zone seems to have had some changes due to the Cataclysmic Shattering and I haven’t had a opportunity to explore them all. I have a freshly rolled Forsaken Hunter and was surprised that there is a redesigned set of starter quests in Deathknell. For once I cannot wait to get over to the Barrens to begin questing and as I grind up through the levels each new zone has new content on offer.
The reinforcement and entrenchment of Undead forces in Tirisfal, Silverpine and down into Hillsbrad is satisfying both stylistically and aesthetically. Brill is totally transformed and looks every inch the first town of the newly self-confident, no longer content to cower underground, Forsaken.
I love what Blizzard have done to the Barrens and even my beloved Stranglethorn Vale is, if anything, improved and mercifully mostly intact. The new zones all add something to the game and the underwater zone Vashj’ir is a real gem. I’ll look at each new zone in more detail with a review of latest crop of instance dungeons in a later post.
The only disappointment I feel at the moment is that Duskwallow hasn’t been destroyed and that Thunder Bluff and most of Mulgore is not in flames. Well, you can’t have everything. At least Bloodhoof Village has a flight point now.