About two years ago I wrote a post about how I enjoyed questing in the Alterac Mountains. Considering that I used to be quite fond of the zone, it is with great shame that I have to admit that it took me nearly nine months of playing Cataclysm to notice that it is gone.
Dun dun DUNNN.
Oh alright, the mountains themselves are still there, but they don't count as a separate zone anymore (they are officially part of the Hillsbrad Foothills) and they seem to have been stripped of any and all content. I mean, it was obvious that the Alliance quests were going to go with the destruction of Southshore, but what about the Forsaken? Evidence suggests that just like with the Arathi Highlands, the developers simply ran out of time, because a Horde flight master and an orc NPC can be found standing in the middle of nowhere on the edge of Strahnbrad, suggesting that the place was supposed to become another quest hub. As it is, the quests in the Eastern half of Hillsbrad peter out somewhat quietly until you get sent on to Arathi to do the same quests there that you used to do before the Cataclysm. Strahnbrad and surroundings appear to have been forgotten.
When I first noticed this, I ran around the area a bit incredulously, trying to find some sort of sign that Blizzard had done something with it, but no such luck. Named quest mobs and the like have been removed, but otherwise the zone is still populated by the same generic mobs that have lived there forever (yetis, ogres and Syndicate). Not every mob in the game needs to have a purpose, and I'm perfectly fine with some of them just being there for flavour. But in this case it stung to remember the times when I had hunted yetis for their fur, killed ogres for a bounty and snuck into the ruins to reclaim lost treasures. When content just disappears, with nothing else to replace it, that makes me sad.
When I discovered to my great surprise that The Perenolde Tiara was still in the quest log of one of my lowbie Alliance alts, I felt a brief surge of hope. Had I missed something? Were there more quests still to do in the zone, for Alliance no less? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be no. Even this one appears to have remained more due to an oversight than anything else, as the difficulty indicator is still tuned to the quest's old level range. By the time I sent my dwarf hunter to retrieve the tiara - while the quest was still orange in my log - it turned out that all the mobs in the area had already gone grey to her. Needless to say that completing the objective felt rather anticlimactic. I can't see many people going for this quest now, what with it being given in Stormwind Keep somewhat randomly and leading you to a zone far away from Alliance lands where all the mobs are grey.
I'd really love for Blizzard to actually finish their revamp of the old world before pushing us towards the next expansion, but I'm not holding my breath. Alas, Alterac, we hardly knew ye.