Feralas is another zone that's very dear to my heart. In part it's simply because of its looks and atmosphere - I love that it's basically a single forest that's so big that you can barely see the sky, yet it's still lush and full of life instead of dark and threatening. I think Feralas was also the first zone in which I became aware of the rain in WoW - it struck me as beautiful and very fitting for that kind of environment.
Feralas is also a zone with which I connect a lot of fond memories of noobishness and exploration, such as riding down the main road on my night elf priest and straight into the Camp Mojache guards. What, a Horde outpost in the middle of the road? Outrageous! Or finding myself stuck on top of one of the Twin Colossals without a parachute, trying to levitate down and landing right in the middle of a bunch of elite dragonkin. Or running into an annoying night elf hunter while doing the mechanical chicken escort quest, zapping giants together and eventually becoming friends. Or looking at a shadow priest of the enemy faction killing ogres and wondering why I can't shoot funky blue lines out of my palms. Yes, I was a shadow priest in my fourties without mind flay once. Those were the days...
And somehow, even as I levelled up alt after alt after alt, Feralas never lost its charm and ability to surprise me. I remember coming there for the first time as Horde and being completely baffled that there were ogres living in the mountains north of Camp Mojache. I never even knew that place existed before! It also took me a long time to find my first ever Hippogryph Egg. When I levelled my paladin through the zone I was quite surprised when I managed to find a path up a mountainside to a cave full of gnolls where I could finally mine that ore vein that I had seen on my minimap dozens of times while riding past, always wondering where the hell it was hidden. And today I was playing my shaman and found a Gordunni Scroll, which started a little quest chain that I'm pretty sure I had never done before. It's just wonderful that a game that I've been playing for so long now can still surprise me sometimes.
It was also interesting to note that, even though Cataclysm and a complete revamp of the old world are looming ahead, Blizzard hasn't stopped tweaking old content to make it more convenient to level through it right now. Take the quest A Strange Request. This used to send you to Orgrimmar to trade a shrunken head for some herbs with Neeru Fireblade. As I skimmed my quest log today I did a double-take: Xerash Fireblade, located at the Lariss Pavilion... eh, what? Yep, flying all the way to Orgrimmar was clearly too much effort, so Blizzard placed a random NPC just around to corner so you can deliver to him instead. That probably sounds more sarcastic than intended, because it really is convenient, as it means you can get straight to the next part of the chain without having to fly across half the continent.
Speaking of the next part of the chain: Testing the Vessel used to require you to travel to the Hinterlands to use the quest item on owlbeasts there, but not anymore. Now you just need to use it on a bunch of bears and wolves that roam the area aplenty. Again a massively convenient change, and one that kind of makes sense too in my opinion: to be honest I never understood why just to test the item you needed a very specific kind of owlbeast from another continent... though I'll admit that in this case I was also a little bit sad. These quests didn't send people halfway across the world just to waste time, it was also a way of helping them to find other zones appropriate for their level. I mean, how else would a newbie questing in Feralas for the first time feel inspired to go to northern end of the Eastern Kingdoms? So the loss of that connection saddenened me a bit, but as far as I know Blizzard is planning to make all the zone transitions much smoother in Cataclysm anyway, so hopefully that question will have become redundant by then.
At Loose Ends on the Fantasy Front
10 hours ago