Winterspring, Swamp of Sorrows, and The Blasted Lands

My summer Loremaster project moved its first character out of vanilla WoW… well, post-Cataclysm vanilla WoW… or whatever we want to call the 1-60 part of the game these days… and into The Burning Crusade content.  Trianis, my night elf rogue, started off on these three zones at level 53, but by the time he finished up the last one he was level 61 and ready to go through the dark portal and into the Hellfire Peninsula.

Looking out from the Portal

Looking out from the Portal

Last time around he had finished up Felwood, run through the Timbermaw tunnel, and had emerged into Winterspring.  Taking that on was just the natural progression, so in I went.

Winterspring

Winterspring Map

Winterspring Map

More after the cut.

Part of doing these zones has been trying to remember how I felt doing them the first time… or the first couple of times for some zones… back in the old, old days of WoW, when there was maybe a single expansion.  If I recall right, I only kept two characters at/near level cap until after Cataclysm, so most of the level 40-60 content in the game I might have done twice at most.  And maybe not even that, as my Paladin was doing instances with the regular group through vanilla WoW.  That last link goes to a timeline, which puts my time in vanilla with the instance group from late 2006 to early 2008.

That was some time ago.  Memories fade and at times only vague impressions remain.

My impression of Winterspring is snow, yetis, finding some quest mob I needed to kill but who wandered far a field, and mild annoyance at the nature of the quests.

So I was curious to see how the 58 quests needed to get to the achievement would go.  The start is about as I remembered, with some running back and forth to kill this mob or that.  Very 2007 in nature.

It was here though that I started running into a problem that can get on my nerves.  A couple of the mobs for the quests out there drop beads for the repeatable faction quest for Timbermaw Hold.  So there were a couple of level 90s just clear cutting those mobs repeatedly, making in difficult to finish some quests.  I also ended up on the same stages of the quest chain with another level 90 who was no doubt after the achievement as well, but who would do what 90s do and pull all local mobs, making it difficult to keep going.

Dogged by a 90 Worgen

Dogged by a 90 Worgen

This is sort of the reason why I am doing these zones at something close to level, to not me “that guy” who is making life difficult.  I eventually went off to do other things until the surge of level 90s passed.  At that point I was able to wrap up the first quests which sent me to town.

At Everlook the quests began to feel different.  While the zone itself feels about the same… though I don’t recall the long underground area behind Starfall Village, which is a copy/paste of the underground area you visit from Dolanaar in the nigh elf starting area… the quests have been tuned up.  The objectives stop all being “kill this, kill that, then kill me a dozen of those” and feel a bit different.  Also, some repetition has been smoothed out.  For example, there is the one quest where you had to scare three people in town with a mechanical yeti… which was the point of all those “kill yetis” quests, so you murdered dozens of yetis for a practical joke… which has been changed so that you only have to scare one person with the mechanical yeti.

This is like the evolution of cartoons.  Early cartoons would do every sight gag two or three times just to make sure everybody got it.  Later, it became clear once was enough.

The changes and updates to quests kept up as the quest chain moved towards the southern end of the zone.

Later, when it moved north, things got old school.  You get sent off to a camp where they are smoking meat and, of course, want you to go find some more stuff for the smoker, or kill off stuff that is hunting the stuff they want for the smoker.  This kicks off a series of Hemet Nesingwary style “kill 15, then 15 more” type quests that tend to make me groan these days.

On the bright side, the quests complete and chain to the next one in the field, so you don’t have to keep returning to camp.  Also, I happened to have picked up the Darkmoon Faire grisly trophies quest, where you have to kill 250 mobs that give exp, so I was well primed to go out and slaughter nearly 100 beasts in the name of a quest chain.

All of which was no issue until I got up to the frostsabers, where the farming issue came up again.  My guess, from seeing several level 90s clear cutting the mobs, is that they must have some rare drop.

Dead frostsabers everywhere

Dead frostsabers everywhere

There was so much dead wildlife littering the terrain I was half expecting to turn around and see a tauren standing there with a big tear welling up in his eye.

I managed to finish up the quest chain by going outside the marked area for the quests up there.  Blizzard, as part of their quest finder, colors in bits of the map for you, but the colored patches are almost always too conservative by half.  But people stick to them religiously, so you can generally get things done by straying a bit further afield.  Same as it always was in the game I suppose.

I ended up getting the quest achievement a few quests shy of the final chain, so there is a buffer for those seeking the achievement yet again.

58 quests done

58 quests done

I ran down the last couple, as they sometimes get you a nice bit of blue equipment.  While I went for a pair of heirloom weapons for Trianis while Darkmoon Faire was up, I am otherwise sticking with quest drops for gear.  I don’t need to speed up his leveling, he seems to go fast enough on his own, ending up at level 57 before he was done.

Then it was time to decide what to do.  I had both him and my monk at level 57.  I was enjoying the rogue more at the moment… stealth becomes addictive… so decided to press on with him.  With only one zone left on Kalimdor it was time for him to move to the Eastern Kingdoms.

Swamp of Sorrow

The swamp was never much of a destination for the alliance if I recall right.  There was a horde camp, quest chain, and flight point, but if you were alliance you had to work from an adjacent zone to get the couple of quests available.  I don’t recall spending much time there at all.

Swamp of Sorrows map

Swamp of Sorrows map

Since Cataclysm, the alliance presence has been beefed up, with two quest hubs along with a neutral quest flight point and quest hub as well.

Because I did not have the lead-in quest for the zone, or many flight points on the continent, I rode into the zone via Duskwood and started on the quest hubs from west to east.

When I finished up the quest hub in the west, The Harborage, I was pointed at The Blasted Lands.  Clearly that was not where I wanted to go.  While I only had 25 quests to do for the zone, I wasn’t even close yet.  So I rode east to Marshtide Watch and picked up the quest chain that starts there.

The quests are very much in the Cataclysm style and depend a lot on phasing between quests.  This actually works well enough with the story and is fine if you are solo, but it is clearly a place where you could get out of sync with a group.  The quests have you fighting the horde and you can see how each alliance quest has its equal horde version just by the mobs on the field.  I ran down those and got a quest sending me to The Horborage.

Since I was done there, I moved east again, up to the flight point in the top corner of the map, Bogpaddle.  This was a neutral goblin town that sent me on a series of very goblin-like quests and involved me getting shot out of a cannon multiple times in the name of transportation.

Soon to be on a boat

Soon to be on a boat

That was all new and, while it involved a few of the common “go get 10 drops” sort of quests, there were some twists to it that kept it interesting.  Finishing up with the goblin quest line, I got the quest that sent me west to Marshtide Watch.  Turning that in left me one quest short, but I still had the quest for the Harborage, so I ran that one down for the achievement, getting the last quest at the same place I picked up the first.

Swamp quests complete

Swamp quests complete

Since I only missed the lead-in quests, which usually counts towards your total, the quest chain for the zone seems pretty tight if you want the achievement.  From there it was time to head south down the road.

The Blasted Lands

I don’t remember this being a very deep zone.  There were things to kill, there was a quest chain in the mines, and some of the standard filler quests, but since the launch of The Burning Crusade it has seemed more like a transit point to Outland rather than a destination.

Cataclysm shook that up, making the place a bigger zone overall.  The old zone was fairly well contained.

The old Blasted Lands

The old Blasted Lands

The active part of the zone was the area in orange.  I don’t recall ever doing anything in the gray section to the southwest, aside from exploring it at some point just to see what was there.  Otherwise, all roads led to the dark portal.  Cataclysm opened up the zone.

The new Blasted Lands

The new Blasted Lands

While the first couple of quests were centered on Nethergarde Keep, the quickly started sending me out the new eastern gate.  During those expeditions, I ran into a murloc who ask for help with the blight of his people.  The murlocs in the area were being subjected to their own trail of tears by the naga.

Murlocs on the move

Murlocs on the move

A whole, literally never ending column of murlocs marched across the beach to a cave in the mountains, where they disappeared.  Draw your own conclusions as to what the naga’s policy is.

So I was sent do kill and disrupt the naga.  I even ended up saving a few baby murlocs, pulling them to the relative safety of the sea.

It was their luggage that was the problem

It was their luggage that was the problem

But the naga were still there when I was done, and the murlocs were still marching to whatever fate awaited them.  The quest chain had other tasks for me to deal with.

I was sent to the dark portal for a few quests around there.  Things were starting to get crowded again at this point.  Though there was none of the level 90 menace, there were enough nearly level 60 players running quests that anything which required killing a named mob was generating a queue.

Next up, shadow priest

Next up, shadow priest

That shadow priest got impatient and wandered off to kill something else, so I jumped to his spot in line.  There were other people waiting.

Then it was down to the south end of the zone and the little town of Surwich and its issues with the Tainted Forest.

Visiting Surwich

Visiting Surwich

This is all clearly new, and the quest chain has you killing a menu of various mobs, collecting bits and pieces to process and combine all to summon and kill the main demon bothering the area.  That took a bit relative to the number of quests there, but with only 35 quests for the zone achievement, they had to stretch things out a bit I think.  This area was surprisingly quiet after the dark portal.  If you are 58 one of the quests you get around the portal sends you through, and I gather that a lot of players just move on through at that point.

Done down there I was sent back to a gnome who had been sending me off in various directions to finally wrap up his quest chain.  A couple of steps short I got the zone quest achievement, so there are surplus quests.

The Blasted Lands quests complete

The Blasted Lands quests complete

I finished out his quests in hopes of a blue item.  And while I got one, it wasn’t a rogue item.  But my rogue is an enchanter, so at least he got to disenchant the item for materials.  Running through the quest chains has kept him caught up with enchanting.

He did also go revered with Gnomeragen, which means he can buy another cheap 16 slot bag from their quartermaster.

And then that was it.  He got a quest to go get the flying skill.  I had to send him some gold so he could get the skill for Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, but not a lot.

Now I have to figure out what to do with him.  But I am reasonably happy to have boosted him up to level 61 while pursuing this quest goal.

Finally, I have to formulate a plan for the rests of the zones.  I have the Draeni starting zone on Kalimdor, for which I will probably just roll a Draeni.  And then I have the following zones in the Eastern Kingdoms.

  • The Cape of Stranglethorn    30-35 – 60 quests
  • Eastern Plaguelands    40-45 – 70 quests
  • Badlands    44-48 – 35 quests
  • Searing Gorge    47-51 – 35 quests
  • Burning Steppes    49-52 – 40 quests

And then, of course, all the missing zones from the expansions.  But those are further down the road.

7 thoughts on “Winterspring, Swamp of Sorrows, and The Blasted Lands

  1. Narvi

    The grey area in original blasted lands was basically only used by warlocks as part of their quest chain for dreadsteed and as the original spawn location of Lord Kazzak. While the area was solo-able in full epics (at 60) it was still insanely difficult. Most people had to group for the Dreadsteed quest and never went back.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Sleepysam – I don’t have hard numbers as I tend to get involved with the zone and lose track of time. And I don’t always do them in one go.

    But I would guess rarely less than two hours and rarely much more than three based on just how often I needed to refresh the 1 hour poison applied to my weapons. Maybe past four hours for Ashenvale, where I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out that bugged quest. Though you might need to boost those numbers by 50% to counteract immersion and losing track of time.

    The actual number of quests is not a good guide to duration in general. The Blasted Lands probably took me about the same time as Swamp of Sorrows because there were more “go talk to a guy” quests, which are basically filler.

    The biggest factor for time is travel. Stonetalon Mountains has 55 quests, but keeps you moving in generally the same direction so travel isn’t such a big deal. There isn’t a lot of back and forth. Thousand Needles has 60 quests but took much longer because the various quest chains take you up and down the zone. You spend a good chunk of time sailing around in your little boat.

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  3. SynCaine

    I remember that gray Blasted Lands area well, as that raid boss would nuke everything if more than 40 people fought him. Good times, though if I recall correctly his loot sucked originally.

    Only solid memory of Winterspring is that we had someone in our guild who farmed lotus 24/7 there for raid elixirs.

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