After Loch Modan, I went on to the Wetlands. Apart from the fact that they are considerably wetter now than they were before, they haven't actually changed much. Most of the quests are simply tweaked versions of what already existed previously, only now they are arranged in a neat line that you're supposed to follow. I didn't mind though, in this case the familiar just felt soothing to me instead of repetitive.
Some of the quests were quite sad. I vaguely recall Klep talking about this quest chain and how the story had been adjusted post-Cataclysm, though I can't find the post about it now. The ending is somewhat tragic and leaves a lot of things unresolved, something that's become quite rare in the game these days. I kind of miss that. Quests in WoW have always been light-hearted, but I feel that in this expansion they've been gravitating more and more towards plain silly. I've lost count of how many people have told me that they consider the goblin starter zone to be the best thing ever for example, but to me it was nothing but a giant joke that I simply couldn't connect with. The way the goblins stumbled from one ridiculous situation to the next was just too over the top. A bit of seriousness helps to keep me grounded in the game world.
The linearity didn't feel too bad in the new Wetlands either. There are comparatively few quests in the zone and the designers still left a lot of what you could call "dead space", which continues to delight my inner explorer even after all these years. I think my favourite moment during my entire time in the zone was when I randomly ran into a medium-sized cave full of raptors for no other reason than that I had spotted some ore inside, and then ended up finding a rare spawn as well. As much as the world has been streamlined, there are still some surprises to be found here and there.
Speaking of surprises, I was rather baffled when the zone quest achievement popped up in a rather random place, about two mini-hubs before the actual final quest of the zone. I know that when achievements were first introduced there were some issues with people having trouble to complete certain zone achievements because they couldn't find the last couple of hidden quests, and Blizzard wanted to make things easier for them by setting the bar a bit lower. But when the entire zone is one big breadcrumb trail, with a clear lead-in and a big notable quest at the end, what's the point of giving me a completion message halfway through instead of after the big finale? It's not as if every single quest wasn't very clearly signposted along the way. Oh, and "Wetlands Quests"? Am I the only one who's slightly disappointed that they didn't bother to come up with any more interesting achievement names for old world questing?
Theoretically the Arathi Highlands should be my next port of call, but even without any kind of experience bonus Loch Modan and the Wetlands together already boosted me all the way to level thirty (fifteen levels from two small zones, yegads) so I'll move right on to the Hinterlands.
The Call of Free Trade in Norrath
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