The Crossroads is NOT Under Attack!

It is understandable that the quest path I have been following since our return to Azeroth has been new.  Cataclysm revamped much of the old 1-60 zones, with only the Blood Elf and Dranei starter zones from The Burning Crusade remaining relatively untouched. (Are they still no fly zones?)

And. of course, that has been part of the point of returning to the game, to play through newer content.  So from Pandaria, if you choose Horde, the big quest board points you at Azshara.

I just go where the board tells me

I just go where the board tells me

Azshara follows the pattern of zones from Cataclysm, where there is a zone-wide store which the quest chain guides you through.  Azshara itself was changed pretty dramatically with Cataclysm.  Previously it was a zone that I think most people spent very little time running through.  I seem to recall there being a hunter class quest in the zone and that being the reason I went there in the past.  While there were other quests there, I recall it being a somewhat barren and sparsely populated place.

Then, with Cataclysm, the Goblins moved in and changed the zone.  That included installing their own transit infrastructure.

Riding the rocketway

Riding the rocketway

The Goblins have left their mark on the zone, though given its previous state, it is hard to object to most of the changes.

The bust might be too much

The bust might be too much

The quest chain through the zone is fun in that “Gnome/Goblin inventions gone awry” sort of way.

So mechs are involved

So mechs are involved

And while it was clearly designed to be solo friendly, it isn’t as completely single player absorbed as Redridge ended up after Cataclysm.  You could run Azshara with a friend or in a small group and feel as though you were being unduly punished.  In fact, grouping up to diminish your xp intake might be the only way to get through the zone before the quests start going gray on you.  I was at 60 of 100 quests done for the zone achievement when the big board was telling me to move on to Ashenvale, the next stop on the trip.

I was debating the idea of making it to the end when my daughter declared for Ashenvale and so we headed that direction.  That seems to be a common choice, given the number of Pandas I saw running around later with the quest related, no stats wizard hat you get at one hub in Azshara.

The flight master will send you there directly if you have the “go to” quest from the big board, but I decided to run there on foot as I had some other plans.

First, I wanted to catch up on some harvesting along the way.  I chose mining and herbalism with the idea of just selling the raw materials on the market.  Herbalism seemed to be quite popular though, so herbs were scarce and I fell behind on that relative to mining.

Second, I wanted a new pet.  While I liked the model for the tiger from the Panda starting zone, I have never really liked cats as hunter pets.  Their special ability is ‘prowl,’ which I find more annoying than useful, so I decided to upgrade to a hyena.  And, according to Petopia, hyenas were available along the way to Ashenvale in the Northern Barrens.

Finding my perfect pet

Finding my perfect pet

And I had a pet battle rendezvous in the area as well.

At the sign of the green paw

At the sign of the green paw

What I did not expect to find was The Crossroads.

Or, rather, The Crossroads sitting there, empty and pretty much unchanged from the last time I was there back in… whenever that was pre-Cataclysm.

The Crossroads still stands

The Crossroads still stands

Blizzard appears to have solved the “Barrens chat” issue by simply making The Barrens a place you do not really play in any more.

But The Crossroads is still there.  The flight point is there.  The buildings still stands as they always have.  The quests givers are all standing around, ready to hand you the quests the same quests they were handing out five and more years back.  It is just very quiet.  The Cataclysm quest path sends you to Azshara and, once you are done there and are headed to Ashenvale, the quests at The Crossroads are probably too low level to bother with.

And given that so much around that area has changed… the South Barrens is on the other side of a fissure, the route to the Stonetalon Mountains has changes, the northern end of the zone has seen some updates, there is the new Ashenvale experience (another zone I never really liked, so change there was fine by me), and the the link with Durotar having been flooded out… I wonder how much questing you can do before you run into a dead end.

But if you want to try, the starting quests are still there.  There isn’t much competition for the mobs.

Flying back to The Crossroads

Flying back to The Crossroads

And you will be left alone.  Nobody seems to be attacking The Crossroads any more.  That used to be the constant refrain on the local defense channel on a Saturday night, “The Crossroads is under attack!”

13 thoughts on “The Crossroads is NOT Under Attack!

  1. Mos

    The funny thing is that when you visited the zone there were probably lots of max-level Alliance and Horde around, some fighting! It was the last week of the Battlefield Barrens content so people were scrambling to do last-minute stuff. Presumably they were all phased out though. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s even possible to raid the Crossroads in 5.3 once you’ve unlocked that, at least not to mess with the lowbies.

    The normal quests there eventually end up feeding into the same Ashenvale chain. You can pick up the feeder quest for the Northern Barrens off the big board if you’re ever so inclined. It’s been a while but I think the Durotar races end up going there as part of their natural quest progression instead of Azshara.

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  2. Shintar

    Yeah, the Barrens aren’t quite as unchanged as you make them out to be. If you level in Durotar, Northern Barrens is your natural next stop and while they did leave some classics in (harpies, harpies and more harpies), they did revamp most of the content. I remember levelling a troll druid right after Cataclysm hit and getting to ride a riverboat and a kodo caravan with a shotgun among other things…

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Shintar – Technically, I said that The Crossroads appeared unchanged and that I did not know where those quests now lead given the changes surrounding that point on the map. I did not intend to make any statement outside of that. I just thought it was interesting that The Crossroads and its immediate vicinity seemed to be untouched by Cataclysm while so much, just up the road in some cases, changed so dramatically.

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  4. bhagpuss

    My brief visit to WoW was, what, three or four years back. Before Cataclysm, anyway. I spent a fair old time in The Barrens marveling at the similarities with The Commonlands. Barrens Chat was already a distant memory even then. I was on a well-populated server but I had the Barrens largely to myself.

    And referring back to the recent discussion, Karana forgive me but I am beginning to experience something disturbingly similar to nostalgia for Azeroth, never mind that was only there for three months or so. If they do go F2P…

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – WoW is free to level 20. You have to play in some special version of a server I think, but it seems to be the same stuff you’d otherwise see to level 20.

    @SynCaine – Well, “better” is a relative term. The quests at The Crossroads were pretty plain fare, kill 10 of these, kill 8 or those, go find a corpse, go kill some more. I do not have any real fond memories about that content myself, except for maybe running off to capture The Rake with my hunter.

    Post-Cataclysm Azshara, on the other hand, actually has some fun, amusing, or engaging quests. There are plenty of kill 10 quests, but also a lot of different activities. There is a run through a minefield that was hilarious with a hunter pet. And, as noted above, isn’t quite as solo enforcing as the new Redridge, though there is some phasing.

    Now, maybe you don’t want to ride the rocketway, put out flaming goblin interns, or help an intelligence-enhanced raptor. I know people who prefer to just have a kill 10 quest.

    But the point of the post wasn’t to compare the quest lines. It was, rather, a surprised reaction to the fact that Blizzard left that little chunk of the Barrens, The Crossroads, pretty much intact.

    @Fabad – Yes, there is still the alliance entrance at the Ashenvale side of things, where I went into Azshara ages ago for a hunter class quest. I couldn’t recommend that route to somebody at level running to the start of the quest line in Ashenvale however. Better to start at the Barrens end of things I think.

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  6. JameslikesGames

    I haven’t properly played horde since wrath and have returned after a long break from WoW. Definitely going to roll a hoard now!

    Do you find yourself doing many pet battles? I started and then lost interest.

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  7. Gripper

    I think that the improvements Blizzard made to the lower level zones during Cataclysm were much needed and really made the experience much better.

    The funny thing is that when I was leveling a warlock recently the amount of xp to get to 85 has been nerfed so hard that you are out leveling a zone so fast if you do instances also that you miss probably 50% of the content!

    I am having a good time back- now at about 3 months, as the time sink of Eve along with my subconscious need to be on for every fleet when I play Eve, that Wow has been a great break and has turned into more of a permanent home until something better comes along – which may be a few years when Star Citizen either wins or flops.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @JamesLikesGames – I will have a pet battles post soon-ish. I will say that there are aspects of it I really like.

    @Gripper – I think that was part of the problem that our group had in the post-Cataclysm run. We found we could either do instances or do zone content, but not really both simply because we leveled up way too fast. The days of Westfall leading you to the Deadmines is over I think.

    WoW xp is like a firehose at lower levels, to the point that they really need an alternate advancement or other diversion to route xp into for people who want to slow down a bit but who cannot abide just throwing xp away. If I recall right, you can turn xp off, but it costs gold and requires a visit to an NPC.

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  9. Matt

    I can’t honestly say the new zones are worse than the old ones. You spend far less time running around wondering what to do or where to go next, and the rewards are actually useful most of the time. But I do think the greater focus on stories and events reduces the feeling of a world. Before you would go find a post that had a few chores that were boring, but it was believable enough that these people/orcs/etc in this place would want you to do such things. Now, the zones often just feel like a backdrop for a specific event or storyline. Silverpine Forest is one of the worst in this regard, it doesn’t feel like a place at all anymore (count me as one of the 3% who didn’t hate the old Silverpine).

    One thing is for sure, the time and resources spent revamping the old world did not have the return Blizzard was hoping for, so I think they’re done with that.

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  10. Jenks

    I would say Azshara was my favorite pre-Cata WoW zone. It was a place you were very rarely sent to, you just went and explored it. Azuregos, Hydraxis, Xylem, were just… there.

    It was as if Azshara was only half implemented, and yet that made it better to me. Fully implemented for Blizzard means every nook and cranny is a quest or has ‘purpose.’ I much prefer my MMOs to have a more spread out, worldly feel.

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  11. Pingback: Louis CK Explains Barrens Chat | Toldain Talks

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