I'm REALLY excited to share this week's Warcraft Wednesday with you guys!
The launcher took what seemed like forever to load enough content so I could play (rather than make the Beta a client like the normal PTRs, you download the content through the Blizzard Launcher/Downloader and it continuously downloads/loads in the background while you play, but you have to wait for the initial setup to complete first before you can play).
Anyways, I noticed that you could create Worgen females now, so I decided to check that out first:
The neat thing here, since you have your initial human form AND your Worgen form, is that you can switch between the 2 in the character creation screen to see how your human attributes carry over as a Worgen and vice versa til you find something you like that works for both.
Unfortunately though, when I entered in several names, each time rather than giving me the "Character Created" pop up box, I got one that said "Failure" so it looks like that while you can currently play around creating a female Worgen, you cannot save and play them yet.
I decided that I would check out some of the changes in Azeroth, namely the major Alliance cities and the Eastern Kingdoms. I logged into my human Paladin Flourentine (aka Flour pronounced like "Flor") as she was my original toon that I played the most during Vanilla and for sentimental reasons though seeing all the changes on her would be fun.
One thing I noticed right away was the lack of talents I had, as they had all been reset, so I opened up my talent tree - they changed the look of a lot of the windows, such as the talent tree and spellbook.
The change with the talent tree is that you have first select which spec you want to mainly be - you can't just freely add points to any of the 3 trees like you could before. Flour's main spec has always been Ret, so naturally I started added points to that one and once the tree was filled I could then distribute my final 5 talent points into the first tier of either of the other 2 trees as I pleased.
Since Flour was in Dalaran, I decided I would start my journey in Stormwind so I hopped into the portal and began checking out the changed human capital city.
Here's what the new Eastern Kingdoms loading screen looks like:
(For those not reading in a Google Reader or something similar, our journey begins after the jump!)
First thing I did was figure out how to get my flying in Azeroth - you can purchase this from a female dwarf next to the flightpath in Stormwind for around 250g. She gives you a license to fly in Azeroth at your regular 280% flight speed (or 300% if you're a Paladin with your aura and talents). For a little over 4000g you can purchase the Mastery and your flight speed will be increased to the new max of 315%.
Remember the lovely park just north of the Mage Quarter with the moonwell? Yeah, it's no longer there - it crumbled and fell into the earth and was destroyed during the great Cataclysm. On my server, being one of the original RP servers (despite the lack of RP since the days of Vanilla), the park and the tavern in the park are mainly the last remaining RP hot spots so it'll be sad to see it destroyed and gone when the expansion is released!
I also checked out the Keep, which has changed quite a bit!
Riding up to the Keep, there's a huge fountain now and a grander entrance.
Also, walking through the main hall of the Keep, to the left where the courtyard outside library is, well, that's all opened up now with a view of water that flows down into the harbor. There's also a little druid looking island in the water just off the courtyard too - I'm guessing to maybe replace the moonwell and druid spot that was once in the now destroyed Park.
Going up to the king and his throne, my how young Prince Andruin has grown!
Here's a screenie of the map of new Stormwind:
There's also Stormwind Lake just north of the Cathedral and Dwarven Districts.
Next I traveled south through Elwynn Forest, but didn't notice any changes on the map, so I headed southwest, flying over Duskwood (which also didn't appear to have any changes to the map, aside from a flightpath near the cemetery on the western side of the zone) and heading over to Westfall.
Cataclysm has affected Westfall a bit:
Sentinel Hill now has a bit of a fortress thanks to stone walls surrounding the area:
And there's this interesting bit now too called the Raging Chasm, just north of the Alexston Farmstead:
I flew over Moonbrook and Deadmines - there's now a flightpath over there too (how lazy have people gotten!? Moonbrook's not THAT far from Sentinel Hill).
Next I headed to STV, which is now divided into 2 zones - North Stranglethorn Vale and The Cape of Stranglethorn. There's a huge spot of waterfalls just randomly placed in the middle of the map.
Booty Bay looks intact, aside from the giant boat that was thrown and lodge into the wall just above the bank.
Also, the Rio de Janerio goblin-Jesus is still there in the bay, although it looks like they updated his graphics a little bit, and that the Cataclysm broke off one his ears and he's got seaweed draped over him too.
I decided to fly east and ducked up north to see if there were any changes to Deadwind Pass or Blasted Lands but looking at the maps, it seemed nothing had changed geographically. Also, the guys hubby and I ran into at Taco Bell a few weeks ago who were speculating about things in the Beta must have heard wrong - I honestly doubt you can you fly to Maelstrom and GM Island in the center of the Great Sea in between the 2 continents of Azeroth. Just flying over the Veiled Sea east of Booty Bay, wandering too far into it I started to get the yellow fatigue bar, making me head back closer to the coast.
Speaking of the center of the Great Sea, they recently added in the locations of the Goblin starting zones - last time when I played my goblin warlock Sprakle, I kept pulling up the map just to see where in Azeroth these zones were, but they weren't on the map - now they are though! Both Kezan and The Lost Isles are located near Maelstrom in the middle of the Great Sea. I must say though, considering the goblin storyline is that they left Kezan on boat to get to Azshara, considering how close The Lost Isles are, they didn't get very far before their ship got blown up accidently by the Alliance!
Anyways, back to Eastern Kingdoms... Swamp of Sorrows has a new Alliance quest hub in the northeast with a road that leads from it, into Redridge Mountains where you walk above it and down below in Redridge is another new Alliance quest hub, and the staying on the above road it takes you into the Burning Steppes, just slightly northeast of Morgan's Vigil.
Burning Steppes doesn't look very different from what I could tell, so I ventured up into Badlands which has seen some Cataclysm activity! There's this huge spot of ground that's been pushed up like a crater crashed and rolled through it. It has a really cool name, but I forgot it and it's not labeled on the map.
There's also a new quest hub with an extention of it leads to a docking area on the east side of the zone, past the canyon with all the dragonkin.
On the westside of the zone, Kargrath - the horde hub - got a facelift and is more of a fortress now.
I flew to Searing Gorge but this zone appears to be bugged, as flying in an area with plenty of room, I felt like I was flying into an invisible wall which eventually dismounted me. I got on my ram and proceeded to ride back out like I came in, but again, invisible wall. I even tried walking and that didn't work, so I reported the bug and hearthed to get out of there.
Back in Dalaran, I decided since I was just south of Ironforge, I'd take the portal there.
Ironforge looks pretty much the same, the only change I could tell was that in the throne room, there's 2 more dwarves with thrones in addition to King Bronzebeard - there's a Dark Iron representative and a Wildhammer Clan representative.
I went outside and decided to check out new Gnomergan. Outside, you could tell the gnomes have been hard at work, keeping slime at bay and renovating their little city outside Gnomer.
Heading inside to Gnomer, there's no more mass exodus of little gnomes fleeing. I took the elevator downstairs and there's a whole little gnome base with guns and cannons... venturing in more to the control room, there's mostly friendly mobs here with the occasional level 1 "Crazed Leper Gnome" flying around out of control which gets quickly shot down by the gnome S.A.F.E squads throughout the area.
There's also survivors cowering in fear, afraid of all the chaos. I went down into the instance via the train depot door and that still appears to be the same, as you face level 30ish enemy mobs. I went back outside Gnomer and flying back towards Ironforge, I noticed a HUGE arsenal just west of the capital, next to Iceflow Lake (ah the memories of dueling with guildies on the lake before raids).
Being able to fly now, I decided to fly over the icy lake area east of Ironforge which you fly over when taking the flightpath in which it always looked a snowfight or battle was going on up there, but since it was in the mountains you couldn't get there until now. It's basically a military training area with various mechanical robots the gnomes have put together, training and shooting, etc.
Because I went this way, it took me into Wetlands, which looked mostly unchanged so I flew back around to Loch Modan... and omg! The Loch has been destroyed! Flying south to it from Wetlands, it looks like the dam wall gave out and crumbled, as you can stand at the edge of The Loch and look down into Wetlands now.
And because there's no dam, The Loch mostly dried up and pigs and other creatures just roam the barren area where the water once was. There is still a mini lake in the center, but not like it used to be. It actually made me kind of sad, as once this expansion comes out, those that haven't played before or leveled a toon in this area will have no idea how pretty The Loch was... as mentioned before, I have some fond memories of epic world PVP battles that ensued on The Loch.
Also, I have no clue how lower levels that can't fly yet are expected to get into Badlands or get to Uldaman from Loch Modan like we used to - on that border, the 2 zones have been separated by a giant canyon that you can only fly over.
I continued north and since Wetlands looked pretty unchanged, I flew east and discovered the new level 84-85 zone Twilight Highlands.
There's a lot of interesting stuff here - flying from the southeast, I found the Obsidian Cavern in a wall - there's some level 84 dragonkin whelps here, as well as some remains and bones of larger creatures.
Outside, I flew just north into the new zone. I found this Cruel Crucible which is an alliance holding area but made out of nasty looking bones - the horde has something similar just to the north east with what looks to be the heads of dragon bosses Onyxia and Nefarian staked on the sides of an entrance.
Also, way up north are level 85elite tentacles just flailing around out of the ground - there's quite a bunch of them too, it looked a bit freaky!
To the west of the zone in the border all along in the mountains are the good dragons, including Alexastraza in her dragon-form and some big dragon friends of hers.
After checking out that zone, I went through Arathi Highlands, but that didn't appear to have any changes, aside from a mini horde hub near the gate of the Thurdin Wall, so I went into Hillsbrad.
Looking at the map, I noticed that where Southshore was, it is now called the Ruins of Southshore! How sad! Traveling there, it's been over taken by slime creatures.
Where the flightpath once was, now is a group of hordies, including a few vendors and a flightpath for them!
Tarren Mill is still intact, however, in the west of the zone where the evil human farm and city hall and and blacksmith used to be, it's been overrun with Undead and looks like a spooky evil area.
Here's the crater of where Dalaran once was, in its purple bubble, before it was uprooted to Northrend.
I flew over the Alterac Mountains, The Hinterlands and Western and Eastern Plaguelands, but none of those areas appear to have been affected by the Cataclysm.
Next I decided to hearth again and took the portal to Exodar. Now I haven't spent much time in Exodar, but it looks like the city and the zone outside (Azuremyst Island I believe it's called) appears to have been unchanged. I did notice though that for some strange reason, in both the city and in the zone it would not let me fly, which was a bit strange.
I quickly took the boat which dropped me off at Rutheran Village outside the Night Elf starting zone. They changed the location of the village though, as it is now dead center in the south. Also, finding the entrance to Darnassus was not easy or clearly marked. I instead flew around the outside of the giant tree to the west where the city is located and went up and over into the city.
Not much has changed in Darnassus, however in the northwest of the city there's a new wooded, tree area.
I heard about the night elf king returning so I went into the temple and took a peak - sure enough, there he is standing next to Lady Tyrone. He's very big and looks a druid with his antlers.
And that's all for this time folks - next time, I plan on exploring the rest of Kalimdor!