Entry 2: Beginning on Borean Tundra
I transferred two characters to the beta server. One was my main, a hunter. The other was a priest, my herbalist that will eventually do inscription. Inscription right now is rather lacking, so until they fill out the profession with some recipes that can take your skill past ~135, we'll save that for another time.
The very first impression I had of Northrend was the boat itself. The boat looks only part galleon and the other part steamboat-tug. The neat part is that it actually lists to one side when it turns!
After the boat dropped me once (because Northrend's server was down at the time,) I rode safely into Valiance Keep. Valiance Keep is the main base for Alliance in the zone, although Borean Tundra is a huge place. Here's the zone map when I first entered it.
A few shots of Valiance Keep:
After some run-around-town quests, I was finally ready to head out to the shores surrounding the stronghold. The town is constantly under attack from Scourge forces along the Sands of Nasam, as it would appear all the starting towns are. (The Horde's is, as is the Alliance town in Howling Fjord.)
Blizzard is definitely trying to alter the experience of the game. Although the quests are still generally of the same nature, they are doing what they can to tweak the environment. In a few of the haunted sections, there is a ring around the outer edge of the screen that gives the game a slightly eerie feel.
The early Alliance quests deal with defending Valiance Keep and the nearby town of Farshire, and with defeating the ghosts that haunt the ruins on the nearby beaches. However, further up the coast, the neutral Tuskarr are facing the destruction of their village at the hands of the invading Kvaldir. The Kvaldir have a distinctly Norse feel to them, and so do their boats.
One thing I've noticed Blizzard has made it a point to do in Borean Tundra is find ways to spawn enemies without just making them fade in. That still happens, but I found it remarkable that ghouls rise up out of the ground, and that the boats here that are constantly cycling in also drop off fresh troops. This has the side effect of spawning the enemies in waves of 6 or 7 that spread out once into a battallion once they land.
One other place in the southern reaches of the zone worth commenting on is D.E.H.T.A. -- Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals.
This PETA-counterpart in WoW has taken grave offense to the actions of Hemet Nesingwary in Northrend, who has apparently gone from a safari hunter to an all-out wildlife exploiter. Although we don't meet Nesingwary in Borean Tundra, we see plenty of his henchmen. The DEHTA crew is determined to shut them down. One amusing aspect of DEHTA is that killing any of the wildlife in the area puts a debuff on you called "Animal Blood." If you go near the encampment with that debuff, the entire camp attacks you.
The zone is huge, and I hope to have a map up of the whole place tomorrow -- I'm missing mapping out one small section and I'll have one of those nice colorful ones like we have for all the other zones -- but I'll leave you with a few more pictures of southern Borean Tundra:
The Horde main town --
Another view of the Horde main town, near the Blue dragonflight's prison for an archmage --
Underwater scenery in the Westrift --
Yes, that's Kel'thuzad --