Last week, I talked about the new goblin race's starting experience in Good to be Green. If you were hoping to hear more about Quinnie, leave me a comment and I might be tempted to continue her saga but since there's so much change going on in Azeroth beta, this week I started a new human paladin, Arwyn, to see what's up in Elwynn Forest.
Call me boring but I always play human characters when I can, and have done the human starting experience so many times I have it memorized. I did expect to see some changes in Northshire Valley (it's the human starting area, you die-hard Hordies!), but I certainly didn't expect to see King Varian Wrynn at the abbey door. Deputy Willem is still there with his exclamation point headpiece but behind him is a recruitment tent, and standing next to him is the grape girl, Milly Osworth. Willem's quest is still called "A Threat Within," but instead of the vague introduction which always made me think he was referring to his boss Marshal McBride as the threat within, this time he tells me that Deathwing and his Twilight armies have launched a full attack upon Azeroth. Also, McBride is standing on the abbey steps now so there's no confusion about that.
To my surprise, as I approach Marshal McBride, King Varian turns to me and says "What about this one, McBride? Surely this paladin could join the cause!" Seriously, it made me look around to make sure he was talking about me but his next words dispelled any doubt, "What say you, Arwyn?..." Whatever magic those developers may wield, they have somehow managed to personalize the old vanilla WoW starting experience! Okay I know, it's nothing really original. I remember being amazed by something similar way back in '04 when City of Heroes was first launched because random pedestrians would suddenly say "Did you hear what [my character name] did?" as I walked by. It might also be a little disappointing if another player triggers the dialogue first because he/she gets to be addressed and you, well... you get ignored. But still, I'm glad they decided to put that in.
So you would think, Important Person that I am now, that McBride would give me an important task, right? Wrong. I still get the kobold cleanup quest. The kobolds are still the mean misunderstood creatures they always were, and we're still trying to take their candles away. I even get [Candle Grabber's Gloves] as a reward for exterminating them. Well, that's just figurative because they were still very much around when I left the abbey.
But let's talk about what changed. The Defias bandits are gone, and in their place are Blackrock Orcs from the Burning Steppes. Thankfully, they were thoughtful enough to send only their level 4-5 soldiers. The whole area over the bridge behind the abbey is in flames and poor Milly's vineyard is gone. She almost misses the bandits and wants you to extinguish the flames at the vineyard, holding out hope that it might still be salvaged. And no, you don't get a bucket to haul water with. You get a fire extinguisher! I like that you get to use the gadget on anything, even kobolds, although it doesn't seem to affect them much. Finally, instead of Garrick Padfoot, you need to eliminate the orc leader, Kurtok the Slayer. The beginning quest rewards are more useful, too. You basically get your first set of armor as quest rewards so you don't have to leave Northshire looking like a patchwork quilt.
Goldshire now has a gryphon master but other than that, nothing much seems to have changed there. Stormwind, on the other hand, has been remodeled. The ramshackle old Auction House is finally gone and has been replaced by a more stately structure next door. The King has acquired a grander palace but he's still standing (no throne!) and so is the prince. The area in Old Town where SI:7 is, now has a stable and you can find the riding trainer and horse breeder there so there's no need to run all the way to Eastvale Logging Camp for that. The Dwarven District has acquired both an auction house and a bank.
The whole area between the Dwarven District and Stormwind Harbor is now a lake, although I'm not sure if there's anything to it other than a nice view. The park above the Mage Quarter has been demolished. I doubt that anyone will really miss it except maybe hunters and druids looking for trainers but those have been relocated.
There is also a Flying Trainer in the gryphon roost area, and it looks like she can teach cross-race riding skills, including Raptor and Wolf Riding for 19 gold. I have yet to find out what this means since right now, you need to gain Exalted standing with a race's faction before you can buy their mounts. Micro-transaction purchases from the Blizzard Store perhaps?
Eastvale Logging Camp has acquired a gryphon master so all in all, travel is not as much of a pain as it once was. Otherwise, life in Elwynn Forest goes on as usual, and Hogger is still very much the king of the hill.