I logged onto my bank alt today as I do on most days. Somewhat unusually, I had left him next to the Orgrimmar flight master, as I'd been making the rounds around the Pilgrim's Bounty tables to level his cooking. When I logged in however, I wasn't greeted by good old Doras - instead there was water, some greenery and birds chirping in the background? WTF? We're not in
Chat was filled with a strange mix of praise and complaints. There were comments about Orgrimmar's new look being awesome ("take that, Stormwind") but also unhappy voices that didn't like being unable to find the forge anymore or having to discover dungeon entrances before being allowed to use the dungeon finder. However, overall the mood didn't seem too dire - the latter complaint was eventually met with "LFM to discover Northrend dungeons" for example.
Orgrimmar has certainly changed a lot. Garrosh has not only fortified its structures, but NPCs, facilities and whole buildings have been moved around. It took me ages to find my beloved Kaja, and she doesn't seem to be as conveniently placed as before. The zeppelins dock inside the city as well now, instead of in front of it. I was proud of myself for finding my way up the central rise and to the zeppelin tower for Thunder Bluff without too much difficulty.
The goblin lady that welcomed me looked slightly odd at first glance. Playable female goblins have been looking slightly different from the NPCs for a while, but I never gave it much thought. Suddenly seeing all the NPCs change to the new model is a little strange however.
Eventually the zeppelin arrived, I settled down at the prow and observed the landscape passing by under my feet. When was the last time I enjoyed flying this much and actually paid attention to my surroundings? I've never felt so close to being a newbie all over again. There is a whole new world out there that I don't know! Okay yes, I have an idea of the basic geography, but the details will be very different. I actually find myself wanting to take it slowly just to savour that feeling. Mmm.
Flying over the northern Barrens, I was surprised by how little things seemed to have changed, though everything looked crisper and clearer somehow. I don't know whether that's just my imagination, whether the patch actually changed my graphics settings without me noticing or if things really do look better. Then the zeppelin came to the edge of the zone and I saw this big crack in the ground with lava flowing through it. I actually winced. Deathwing, what have you done!
Arriving in Thunder Bluff, I found that very little had changed there, though that was fine by me. It's nice to know your way around at least one city. When I ran into a tauren paladin, I cheered at him.
I returned to Orgrimmar by wyvern afterwards and carefully peeked off the top of the central rise. Elevators are for wusses! I hurled myself down into the nearest bit of tarpaulin, where I almost got stuck - what a start to my day that would have been! To my surprise I survived the following fall to the ground... and ended up landing next to the new level 85 elite Gamon, who was being kited around by a couple of hunters and mages. I burst out laughing at the sight of it - some things never change!
As if to confirm that thought, I then ran into a couple of people duelling in front of the gates as usual and some crafty mages that were selling their portal services to the public for some gold. The world is alive and I don't know what awaits me... I couldn't imagine a more wonderful feeling.