This just in - you will no longer be flagged zoning into the opposing factions new racial zone, only the racial city.
So my horde friends have pointed out to me just how remiss I've been, focusing on Outlands and the Draenei without looking heavily at the Blood Elves. I've just been busy is all. Lots to see and do! Have I lost my horde soul to the juggernaut of the alliance borg? Hardly! FOR THE HORDE!
IM IN UR ORGRIMMAR
ELFIN UP UR HORDE!
The Draenei starting area has a very mystical alien feel to it, full of crystals, bits of magical crystalship parts all over the place, radiation-spewing crystalship debris, and affected wildlife - all punctuated by the occasional ancient Kaldorei ruin. The Blood Elf starting area is very classical-warcraft in style, and the graphic artists at Blizzard really outdid themselves with how pretty and easy on the eyes the first Blood Elf zone is, Eversong Forest - where Silvermoon City is located.
But it's not finished either. There is supposed to be a Zepplin from Silvermoon to Undercity - as of yet it's not complete. Instead two Blood Elves of the McWeaksauce lineage provide teleport service between the mage room in Silvermoon to the top level of the Undercity. Also, the town guards in Silvermoon refer to the flightmaster as being the "Dragonhawk Master" - when in fact he's a Riding Bat Master. This disparity is probably due to the dragonhawk mounts themselves being unfinished.
I even tried to go to Shadowmoon Valley in Outlands to view the flying mounts, but alas - that zone is not yet open for business. You get a hunter's mark on your head and are teleported out of the zone. The debuff is called "No-man's land" and the description is "You are not where your supposed to be".
But anyway, back to the Horde. There are two - COUNT 'EM TWO - raid instances in the new horde zone. They are both in the middle of troll temples in the southeast corners of Eversong Forest and the Ghostlands. Both have a swirly green raid portal with wooden gates blocking it. The mobs are also missing from in front of them. More unfinished content.
Another quandry. The Blood Elves have another problem - they seem to be being stalked by their elder cousins - the Kaldorei. Now as I fight them and do the quests I've still yet to determine WHY the Kaldorei seem to care so much about spying on their hated younger cousins in Eversong. It makes about as much sense as... well... anything to do with Night Elves. You see the High Elves have been living peacefully in the Eversong forest for approximately 7000 years before Arthas came and ruined everything - the scars of that battle are still carved deep into the land. There's even still a Scourge base called Deatholme on the far extreme edge of the new Horde zones for upper-20s young hordelings to go into in groups and clean out baby-scourgelings and even features a Scourge Cauldron, which is what is tainting the Ghostlands zone into it's plagued state. The Night Elves tossed out their upstart High Elven breatheren until the last war and actually allied with Prince Kael'thas for taking down Illidan and his Naga forces. THEN Kael'thas changed sides and joined Illidan and the naga, coming to Outland. The Night Elves, of course, have stopped chasing Illidan and went back home to lick their wounds. The Night Elves have always been autonomous, wanting nothing to do with other races, and to just live in their trees. I can sorta swallow Night Elves joining the alliance, on the basis that the Horde have been invading Ashenvale, logging the Night Elves's ancestral forest, and poisoning the minds of sleeping druids in the Barrow Dens. But WHAT THE FUCK do Night Elves care about Blood Elves enough to use moonstones and lay lines and forest glades for the purpose of spying on Blood Elves? Why do the Kaldorei even care?
The Horde have already forsaken the Treaty of Hyjal and turned once more on the alliance in the last year or two. Origonally the treaty was the unification of not TWO, but THREE factions. Understand in the last war Night Elves were their own faction - totally seperate from the alliance and the horde - that just wanted to be left in peace in their trees and stuff. The Treaty of Hyjal unified the three as a single force - The Living - against the Burning Legion forces, which at that time contained the Undead Scourge in it's ranks. Then the Forsaken broke free of Burning Legion control. Then the horde turned on the rest of the members of the treaty - Kaldorei and Alliance alike, invading Ashenvale. (Thanks so much, Grom.) Now suddenly the Kaldorei want to take great lengths to spy on Silvermoon? Why the heck would they care? And their not the secret Kaldorei police force, the Watchers, either - these are The Sentinels, who are the forces under Tyrande's command. The Blood Elves are just rebuilding their homeland and trying to drive the scourge out - why would Tyrande care? The aren't really all that shady, really. Their using demons as a source of power - like batteries - to syphon magic from (E.G. the demon in Dire Maul West) and have captured a Naaru to empower their Paladins with the Light. That's pretty common knowledge - I don't need glades of scrying moonstones to tell me that. *Drives a Mac Truck through that plot hole.*
Anyway, Silvermoon is a breathtaking city - and it's huge. There are 2 banks, 2 auction houses, innumerable mailboxes, and -unlike every other racial city in the game - has only 1 way in. It's elegant, opulent, and relatively unlaggy to me. Also, the 10-20 zone, Ghostlands, has a little sub-faction of Forsaken and Blood Elves that are fighting the scourge. You start neutral, and gain 1000 rep per quest you do for them. Gaining faction with them lets you buy lvl 10 gear that's really nice for relatively cheap prices from their Quartermaster - all lvl 10 greens (a very rare thing). At lvl 14 I'm already Honored with them. (Boots @ friendly, belt @ honored, chest @ revered, and a nice blue cloak at exalted). This is a very new phenomena for any sub-60 area. It will be easy to get exalted with them, but the gear is relatively outmoded by lvl 25. However at lvl 10-20, it's really cool stuff to get your hands on.
Oh, and as a side note - the screenshot I put at the top of my last report was chosen by Blizzard to be used on their site... somewhere. Not sure where or when it will go up, so keep an eye out for it.
Anyhow, that's all for now. Trying to get my hunter to 61 - she's about 75% of the way there. Ordinary mobs are currently giving her about 1K XP per kill. It will be about half that when the Expansion goes live.
- Beta Update: Monday, October 23rd, 2006