Ye Olde World more commonly known as Azeroth is quite a different playground than either of the subsequent expansions. As a late comer to Wow (I started towards the end of the Burning Crusade) I had this kind of vague assumption that the original game was pretty much like the expansions, just lower level.
Lately I have been questing and exploring the Eastern Kingdom mainly for my Loremaster title and it has come to my attention how different the old world is. The original content feels like a labour of love, a genuine attempt to convert the lore and feel of the real time strategy games into a MMORPG. The expansions, while mostly appearing to have coherent lore (i’m certainly no WoW lore buff), feel more like a slick commercial product.
Its hard to explain this, for me anyway. I think part of it is the chaos of some of the old world content. By chaos I mean the the original content is less linear. There is more running all over the place for quests. There are options to skip large chunks of content or multiple areas of the map. The distinct Alliance vs Horde areas are one of the main drivers of this. There are whole areas around Iron Forge and up near Darkshore which as a Hordie, i’ve never seen. The expansions don’t have this with the amalgamation of the two sides, more or less, into the same zones with a significant number of cross-over quests completable by both factions.
There was more variability of quests, which are less streamlined than in the expansions. In both expansions you mainly pick up 2-3 quests from the same ‘base’ and run to an area and complete those quests at the same time. Sure the quests are different, perhaps, a FedEx quest, a kill X quest and a collect X quest. In the original you have these same types of quests but they are generally not as well organised. Perhaps they appear at different times due to quest chaining or you have to pick them up from a variety of ‘sub-bases’ in the area rather than all from the same ‘main base’. And then you have the quests where you have to travel to the complete opposite end of the world on a FedEx quest. There are plenty of these crazy random quests, which while not many peoples favourites, do add a lot of variety to the questing.
The original game had those, in my opinion annoying, choke points in profession leveling. Cooking in particular has a number of these, where if you level in the wrong zone and don’t like fishing you are forced back another zone to farm mobs to level it. Then there are those quests which used to prevent you moving to the next profession level such as Clamlette Surprise to get Artisan cooking and the Smoked Desert Dumplings for getting to 300. However once you hit 300 you could just about accidentally level your professions to 425+ without doing anything more than using the materials that came your way. Levels 225 and 300 cooking were a milestone, a mini right-of-passage, but 375 is something you overtake at high speed on the way to 425+.
Then of course there are fliers and the ease of getting places and farming resources that arrived with the expansions. I had more planned, but as usual when I start writing what I think, my mind is wondering off topic. 🙂 I’m sure some of you readers, who have been playing since pre-TBC, are thinking, “yeah and the [insert area] is completely different now too”.
I’m not saying either original game or expansions are better, but as I wonder around the back waters of the Eastern Kingdom, questing and exploring I get a little smile from time to time when I discover a little abandoned camp in Searing Gorge, where it looks like the owner was setup for a nice dinner before being eaten, or a huge chunk of of the Blasted Lands full of elites with no apparent purpose.
Game on. 🙂