Greetings from the Barrens

I actually played my shaman alt so much as of late that she eventually ran out of restedness again for the first time in ages. There's something about lack of restedness that always makes me want to stop playing, though I'm not sure what it is. I'm not obsessessed with levelling as quickly as possible; I think I just find the blue bar much more aesthetically pleasing...

Anyway, I decided to dig up another low-level alt of mine, my troll warrior, and take him to the Barrens. The Barrens are an interesting place, very iconic and typical for the Horde, but also infamous for housing a lot of stupidity (Barrens chat) and being a pain to quest in. In fact, Green Armadillo of Player Versus Developer made an interesting post about two months ago in which he analysed just what's so bothersome about questing in the Barrens, the most important point being that a single quest chain to kill harpies for example requires you to do twenty minutes of running back and forth, and that's without counting the time to actually kill anything.

Some quest descriptions are also incredibly vague for today's standards, like the infamous Lost in Battle, the quest to find Mankrik's wife. There's mention of "a small tauren camp" and the Gold Road - what, you mean the same road that spans the whole freaking zone? Though I have to say that in all fairness, I never actually had problems with that quest myself. My very first Horde character was a tauren, and thus I first approached the Crossroads from the south. Being new to Horde lands I took everything in with great interest and immediately noticed the burnt huts and the female orc corpse next to them. So when I got the quest from Mankrik it didn't take me long to make the connection and I considered it a very easy source of XP.

In fact, despite of their bad reputation I have many fond memories of the Barrens, though I never went back there for long after my first Horde character did most of the quests in the zone. Take WANTED: Baron Longshore. While Green Armadillo complained about respawn timers being too long, this guy is the exact opposite: If you just run down the coast south of Ratchet randomly killing pirates, you're bound to run into the baron at least three times or so. He respawns fast and all over the place, which makes for a nice running joke. I'm happy to say that I got a good laugh out of it on my troll warrior as well.

I then proceeded to do The Guns of Northwatch. I remember that when I levelled my first Hordie, a friend recommended that we do this quest as a group. These days I'd say it's definitely soloable too, but nonetheless tricky, with lots of fleeing mobs in a densly packed environment with healers. Also, you get to do what's probably the longest escort quest ever in the same area, leading a snotty high elf ("Finally! Someone to rescue me!") out of Northwatch all the way to Ratchet. While doing this he will run into packs of mobs left and right, all the time screaming about being attacked. Good times!

I think the reason that I enjoyed the Barrens quite a bit the first time around was that I was completely new to playing Horde-side and thus revelled in the search and exploration aspects of the zone. (Where's that centaur leader now?) However, due to the endless runs it's definitely not a good place to level in if you want to make progress quickly and without too much hassle. As it is I'm surprised that I'm enjoying it as much as I do to revisit the zone on my troll - I think it's because I largely went in there with the mindset of wanting to remind myself of all the quests before Cataclysm comes and tears the land asunder. My only "problem" is that with the increased quest XP I'm getting ahead of myself too quickly, with quests turning grey way too soon - but that's a rant for another day...

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