In today's installment of my not-really-a-series about questing in various levelling zones, I'd like to talk about the Hinterlands. The Hinterlands are another zone that I'm quite fond of, and I can't help noticing a certain trend: Apparently I particularly like zones that are lush and green and/or somewhat remote. I guess the Bartle Test wasn't completely off by pegging me as an explorer after all...
I always liked questing in the Hinterlands as Horde (my memories from Alliance side have become a bit fuzzy over time, I just remember saving Sharpbeak quite a few times and feeding a hungry little sprite darter with wolf flanks). You can pick up a ton of quests in Revantusk village as soon as you get there and then get them all done in only one or two rounds of the zone, which is pretty good going for the old world in terms of time spent actually questing vs. time spent running around.
It also has Jintha'alor, which used to be a pretty epic place before the removal of outdoor elites - it was pretty much a non-instanced dungeon. Still, the removal of the mobs' elite status was a nerf that happened quite a while ago, so I knew that I couldn't expect much more from it nowadays than having a bunch of quests nicely condensed in a small space.
What I didn't know before I took my shaman to Revantusk village the other day was that pretty much everything in the zone had been nerfed in the last patch. This quest for example used to require you to kill eighty trolls. Now, I admit that that's a bit on the high side. Not because I think that there's anything inherently wrong with a quest requiring a lot of kills, but simply because most of the time when you have to deal with such numbers there aren't even that many mobs in the entire zone, which makes the whole thing pretty stupid. "Please help us, these mobs are terrorising us, go kill them!" goes the quest giver, so you go out and wipe out their entire population, but because the quest giver wanted twenty corpses and the entire population only consisted of fifteen, you're stuffed and have to wait for respawns. Yeah, that's dumb.
Anyway, the requirement to kill eighty trolls was already lowered to a much more reasonable twenty-five in a previous patch anyway. Somehow that still wasn't good enough though, so now you only have to kill thirteen. The same was done to pretty much every other "kill ten rats"-type quest in the whole area, be it about Vilebranch trolls (now requires eight mobs, down from what was forty-five at some point), high elves (twenty mobs, down from sixty), savage owlbeasts (ten mobs, down from twenty) or wolves (ten mobs, also down from twenty). I'm honestly not entirely sure how to feel about that. On the one hand it's not like I find myself thinking "gosh, I wish that quest required me to kill another twenty elves, I don't want to be done yet", but on the other hand it's just another one of those steps that were taken with the intent of making everything take less time, which I don't like. Having to invest at least a minimum amount of time into certain tasks simply makes them feel more meaningful.
There was one quest requirement nerf that I can only endorse wholeheartedly though: that Another Message to the Wildhammer only requires one long elegant feather now. It used to be ten, which was a problem because the gryphons from which you were supposed to get the feathers were pretty sparse, and even if you found one the drop rate of those feathers was atrocious. I remember how I even took previous alts to farm hippogryphs in other zones because they had better drop rates for this quest. That's not something I'll miss.
One quest change that really baffled and confused me was the one made to the mechanical chicken escort quest (and its counterparts in Feralas and Tanaris). Having done it so many times before I only skimmed the quest text without paying too much attention, so imagine my surprise when the chicken suddenly flew off when I had only just escorted it a little bit down the road (instead of all the way to the coast like it used to go). Something about that just rubbed me the wrong way. Why does the bloody thing need escorting when it can fly? I can't fly in Azeroth, it's one step ahead of me as it is!
And finally, we have the silvermane stalkers, wolf mobs that both the Horde and the Alliance have to kill for various quests. These used to be pretty interesting as they were stealthed, which meant that you could run into nasty surprises on the road if you were a low level, and even if you were high enough to actually do the quest you'd actually have to do some hunting to find enough of them. Now they are not only not stealthed anymore, they are also black. I'll let that sink in for a moment: wolves called silvermane stalkers are black. Somehow that bugs me more than anything else, though I don't understand the removal of their stealth either. Did Blizzard really get that many tickets from players claiming that these mobs didn't exist because they couldn't find them or something?
All in all I still enjoyed my stay in the Hinterlands and doing the quests there, but I also couldn't shake a certain feeling of melancholy. Maybe I'm just starting to develop an old woman's "in my days, everything was better" mentality, but the majority of the latest changes to the quests in the zone simply felt like fixes for things that weren't broken to begin with to me.
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