Alas, Alterac

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.


  1. This is a fantastic revelation for me, and I'm annoyed I'm at work and can't go there myself (not that I doubt you, of course, just because that's who I am). I always liked Alterac, too; I loved the ruins populated by ogres, the Syndicate assassins who you then go assassinate, and of course the Christmas quests (excuse me, but I can't think of the in-game name - I want to say Hogfather but I know that's not it). I've leveled quite a bit since Cata hit and haven't noticed this, either, so thanks for pointing it out. Perhaps we should hold an Alterac Memorial sometime (; (oh! It's Winter's Veil).

  2. Alterac + Aliden Perenolde + Syndicate + Stromgarde! ;D

    I was poking around there the other day picking up the limited-supply Frost Oil recipe (the vendor is still there, all lonely) and noticed how the zone is sort of...neglected, now. To be honest, it always felt (to me) like sort of a half-hearted zone - kinda squished between other regions, with most of the quests either starting in other zones or ending outside Alterac. I would have preferred they fix it up and give us some new story there, but I guess it was not to be.

  3. I always considered AV a really odd map to be honest...I remember doing all the quests up there and how often I took the wrong side of the mountain to get to the keeps. and then that constant, annoying map flipping from AV back to HBF! always felt ill-conceived and unfisnished to me. maybe that's why so many never even did it and Blizzard found it easy to remove.

    I agree with you though; if they remove such content (which I find ok), they should at least implement some note/after-effect/explanation on what happened to it (the way Dalaran crater left a mark and got its explanation).

  4. Arathi and Alterac are very unfinished in feel. There are plenty of places where they could plug in more content. That gives me hope that they plan to Do Something with the area - bring back the old human kingdom, maybe create a dungeon out of the ogre areas.

  5. That mansion in Alterac along the shores of the lake is completely abandoned, as is the small house where the wife of one of the Scarlet Monastery NPCs lived.

    I'm so with you, Shintar.

  6. This reminds me of when I decided to standardize my blog post tags. First step: delete all of them. Second step, go though and methodically fill in new, better ones. Surprisingly I ran out of time and patience and now I have a huge number of untagged posts.

    Maybe a progressive tweaking and tuning model would have worked better than a massive overhaul.

  7. @Stubborn: Now I wonder whether the Winter Veil quests will remain the same this year. Then again, the Shattering already happened before last Christmas, so I guess any adjustments would've already been made back then. (I just never pay much attention to the Winter Veil quests.)

    @Rades: Oh, the vendor is still there? I couldn't find him when I was looking for him, but maybe I was looking in the wrong place (it's been a while).

    @Syl: I know what you mean about the oddities of the map; it's because the "Fingers" were right on the edge of the zone and half of the area was on the Hillsbrad map and the other half on the Alterac map. If you were doing anything there at all, you were pretty much always missing something on the map.

    @Anonymous: That's the hope! Unfortunately they let a great opportunity to revamp Silithus go unused in the last patch, so I'm not too hopeful. It doesn't help that the blue posters keep reiterating that they like to focus all their attention on the level cap.

    @Redbeard: Those buildings were the first places I checked as I had interesting memories of them. I remember the Scarlet Monestary NPCs were funny because one spoke Human and one spoke Gutterspeak, which was very random.

    @Kleps: I'm sure Blizzard would appreciate this comparison! :D

  8. Woot? They're gone? I've totally missed that too! I loved the quests there myself, and that there were plenty of rares who could drop costly blues >:) I will have to check out that zone and see what it looks like now.

  9. Hi,
    Apologies to contact so abruptly. I've recently started by own World of Warcraft blog, and was wondering if you might like to share links between our blogs. Mine tends to focus on a humorous in-character viewpoint of the game world. I've only just started, it is over on http://barefootelf.blogspot.com/ and if you are willing to link, it would seriously help me increase traffic and get some viewers.
    Thank you.

  10. Hey Nelthie,

    I'll keep an eye on your blog, but I don't link to other blogs unless I personally like to read them regularly, and with you having just started it's impossible to tell whether your blog will be one of those. :)

    Might I also recommend not just copy and pasting the same comment on dozens of blogs? People might frown on that as spamming. Just leave genuine thoughts on other people's posts and you'll get traffic from people who click on your name to read more anyway.