WoW Wednesday – Top Locales Countdown
By MerryQuiteContrary, OnRPG Azeroth Reporter
Azeroth is a big world and only getting bigger. Even as far back as classic it was a large game world. There were at least two zones to quest in at any given level. That changed a bit with The Burning Crusade where each new zone was meant for one small level bracket and that was that. Of course there was some overlap so the player could bounce a little between zones. This is the formula that seems to work as it has been used in all subsequent expansions. At any rate, we all have our favourite zones whether it is because of the quest lines, the feel of the zone or just plain old good memories.
Here are my top five favourite zones in The World of Warcraft. Do you have a favourite? If so, why not tell us about it.
5. Storm Peaks
This snowy mountainous zone is the place I can happily spend levels 77-80 without ever seeing Icecrown. There is a sense of something bigger about Storm Peaks. No I don’t mean the storm giants. I mean the Titans. It is said they lived in the Storm Peaks and in fact the city of Ulduar is the third known titan city. The Titans presence is felt throughout the zone. Storm Peaks has some of the best quest lines in the game, particularly the ones focused on the Sons of Hodir.
4. Kun Lai Summit
Kun Lai Summit looms over Pandaria in stark contrast from the other colourful and vibrant zones. Kun Lai Summit is clearly representative of Tibet whereas the rest of Mists of Pandaria is meant to be a glorious version of China. Kun Lai summit is cold, mostly barren and probably the highest peak in the game world. Against the over the top nature of the rest of the Mists of Pandaria zones, Kun Lai Summit could serve as a reminder of Tibet’s plight. Whether this was intentional or not, I do not claim to know but I like to think it was. In this zone we meet the Grummles who traverse the trade route known as the Burlap Trail. The Grummles are a fun addition to the game and are in fact modified troggs. Kun Lai Summit also has some great quest lines that are thoroughly enjoyable. What’s your luckydo?
3. Undercity/Ruins of Lordaeron
It is said you can still hear the moments before Arthas killed his father in the throne room of Lordaeron even now as the once capitol city of the Alliance lies in ruin. To this day ghosts that were once residents of Lordaeron wander the ruins searching for their rest. There is a sense of sadness that permeates the ruins and Undercity itself. Undercity almost has a Tim Burton-esque quality to it with its scrolled lights, quirky music and sense of dark whimsy. Despite the Undercity’s wonderful, albeit confusing at times, design The Banshee Queen’s sorrow mingling with Arthas’ treachery can be felt throughout. If you are lucky, you can hear Sylvanas’ grief through the Lament of the Highborne. Because this area is incredibly steeped in lore, it gets the number three spot.
For sheer prettiness Vashj’ir would win hands down. It is a gorgeous underwater zone with long phased quest lines that are rather epic in feel. Vashj’ir was once home to the Highborne and laterally naga, specifically Lady Vashj. Obviously, what makes this zone unique is that it is underwater and is a cacophony of sights and sounds. There is a point when you exit one of the underwater caves that the beauty of Vashj’ir becomes abundantly clear. It is rather like Dorothy opening the door of her house in the Land of Oz for the first time. Some players don’t like underwater quests and avoid Vashj’ir but Blizzard did a decent job of keeping the feel that the player is underwater without forcing awkward controls. If you have skipped Vashj’ir do give it a try. It is well worth it. If you have skipped Vashj’ir do give it a try. It is well worth it.
If you played WoW during vanilla you will remember waiting outside the Dark Portal to go through to see these new magical lands. Everyone was so excited. I remember, after the initial excitement, being a bit disappointed. Hellfire Peninsula looked just like Blasted Lands. There was very little difference which was no doubt meant for continuity but it was disheartening until I discovered Zangarmash. Everything was soft, almost hazy and blue with bright glowy bits in Zangarmarsh. There were giant mushrooms that were as big as the biggest trees. There was so much to see and we had never seen anything like this in Azeroth. This truly was an alien world or rather a remnant of an alien world. Zangarmarsh is also home to some of the best bit of music in the game. The music is called Origins from The Burning Crusade soundtrack. This music has a haunting quality with a sense of longing; almost as if one could feel the Orcs and Draenei pining for Draenor. If ever there has been a truly immersive zone in the World of Warcraft it is Zangarmarsh.