Questing in Alterac

Last night I took my little shaman alt to quest in Alterac Mountains. That zone will always have a special place in my heart because as far as I can recall it's the only zone that doesn't have a town of either faction or a neutral town in it, so it feels truly remote and dangerous. The map might as well just consist of the words "here be ogres".

This effect was heigthened back in the day (pre-patch 2.3, wasn't it) by the fact that the inhabitants of the ruins of Alterac were all elite. This really wasn't a place where you wanted to go quest on your own.

I really miss random outdoor elites by the way. To this day I'm not sure why Blizzard thought it so important to remove them... yes, making them all non-elite meant that there are yet more mobs everyone can kill alone in this game, but aren't there enough of those already? It's not as if these elite quests were really required for anything, but they were a good opportunity to meet people in your level range, as grouping up for these quests actually provided a real benefit as opposed to just an XP cut. Plus it made the world more interesting to have more areas that were genuinely dangerous to you at level and slightly above. To this day I automatically become wary when an alt of mine goes near the Mosh'ogg Ogre Mound, Jintha'Alor or another area that used to be infested with elites. Then I go "oh right, they've all been nerfed" and feel sad.

Picking up the quests from Tarren Mill meant that I also got to do one of those evil Forsaken quests again that makes me feel bad every time (though clearly not bad enough to skip it): Prison Break In. Some Forsaken guy sends you to the Lordamere Internment Camp to kill a bunch of traitors who stole some "artifacts" from the Undercity and return them. Doesn't sound too bad, does it? I mean... traitors! Evil!

But then you get there and all these "evil" Forsaken are trudging around the internment camp wearing nothing but rags, just like those poor orcs in Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde. They are also neutral to you and don't give a damn if you kill their human wardens. When you attack them they'll fight back somewhat feebly and then try to run away when they get low on health. Absolutely pathetic.

As you kill the last guy you're forced to also kill his named guard, who drops a journal in which she talks, among other things, about what a noble and altruistic individual the guy you just killed was. Oh, and those valuable artifacts you were supposed to retrieve? Pieces of bloodstone, that rubbish ore that you only find in Arathi and that serves no other purpose than to be handed in for an Alliance-only quest. (Though one of the uncommon gems found in Northrend is called bloodstone too, not sure if there's a connection.) Way to make me feel good about myself there!

Related to that, I hope that Cataclysm will get rid of those quests to harass inhabitants of Dalaran or at least tweak them in some way. Not that I don't enjoy smacking squishy human and gnome mages to death, but they just feel hugely out of place considering that both the Horde and the Alliance ally with the Violet Eye at seventy and even set their hearthstones in Dalaran at eighty! Really, the Kirin Tor don't mind that I went around killing off their dudes sixty levels ago? Actually, it's worth it to go back to killing them even at eighty, since they drop the rare Cat Carrier (Black Tabby). And all those guys in Dalaran are okay with that? That's just hugely inconsistent.

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