The Redridge Mountains zone has never been one of my favorites in Azeroth.
Pre-Cataclysm it was pretty much a long string of “kill 10 mobs” and “get 10 drops” sort of quests, though of the very picky variety. Often it wasn’t kill 10 gnolls, but kill 10 of a specific type of gnoll which were mixed in with a few other types of gnolls as though slaughtering gnolls in general wasn’t good enough. And I still remember searching for a long time to find vultures for the vulture meat drop.
So my enthusiasm for the zone has never been high.
Enter Makarov the warrior.
He is my first real warrior character in WoW, all previous warriors having been deleted before getting to level 15.
And his purpose in life is to provide the non-instance view of post-Cataclysm Azeroth. So Maloney will do dungeons with the instance group and Makarov will run through the outside world experience. Or such is my plan. We’ll see how far I get with this.
Makarov kicked off last Saturday in the starter zone and ran through Elwynn forest pretty quickly. The starter area has changed up a bit and serves as a good example of the different sorts of quests you can expect to run across in game, while the rest of Elwynn forest is relatively unchanged.
Some of the quests have been moved a bit to make them easier to complete, a couple were trimmed from the mix, and there are two flight points, one in Goldshire and one at the Eastvale logging camp, to limit the tramping up and down the road. But otherwise, it is pretty much the same old set, from kobold candles to princess, to Hogger. Although you don’t get to kill Hogger. Instead you just beat him down until help arrives and he is taken off to the Stormwind Stockade, where you do get to kill him.
Makarov then went off and did Westfall on Sunday afternoon. I would say that running through Westfall again was easier because of the repetition, but it didn’t make that big of a difference. The built-in quest helper points out locations, so for most quests it is a matter of going to the place indicated on the map and doing what it says on the quest guide right there on the right side of your screen.
That caught Makarov up to what Maloney had done, as well as getting him to level 17, now it was time to diverge.
Two quests then send you off to Redridge. Fortunately, if you grabbed the flight point, you can fly to the Eastvale logging camp and then make the short run into Redridge.
Once there, the first big change is a tower out at the crossroads where a single guard used to partol.
The tower and small palisade seem to be arranged to keep people OUT of Redridge rather than keeping all the bad guys (orc, gnolls, murlocs) in Redridge and away from Stormwind. The pointed stakes point towards Stormwind, the open door of the tower faces the orcs in Redridge. It was probably a government contract.
The tower is the first quest hub, and the quests start off disturbingly familiar. Kill gnolls (though any damn gnoll will do), collect animal parts (but the animals are all in the vicinity now), and pick up a few things from the gnoll camps. You then move to the town hall where, as in the old days, you kill some more gnolls (some for drops, some for just being damn gnolls), a few murlocs (many, many fewer than before, thank Pardo), and find that little girls necklace.
And then you start picking up the Bravo Company quests from Colonel Troteman.
This is the main story line in Redridge and if you hate when Blizz makes pop culture references, you will hate this quest line, because Blizzard proceeds to send up the Rambo movies in a series of quests that take you all over the zone to defeat the Blackrock Orc invasion. (I’d like to think there is a little Missing in Action in this quest chain as well, since that was a Chuck Norris vehicle, the patron saint of Barrens chat.)
First you have to rescue some key members of Bravo Company who have been captured by the Blackrock orcs. You start off looking for help from John J. Keeshan, the John Rambo of the story line, but he doesn’t want any part of your mission. He’s busy working out his aggression in underground fighting tournaments.
Rejected by Keeshan, Col. Troteman has no choice but to send you off alone to rescue the remains of Bravo Company.
As you rescue each member of Bravo company, they join up with you, allowing you to take on a series of powerful elite NPCs who would otherwise wipe the floor with your lone character. You do have to take care not to stray off to an encounter with the later bosses too early, as the last one requires you have most of the team behind you.
Once freed, and returned to Colonel Troteman, Bravo Company heads out to their base camp across the lake, bringing you along. Even John Keeshan is moved by the rescue of his comrades and finally joins in enthusiastically.
From there, it is preparations then a very good stealth mission where you scout, grab keys, free prisoners, plant explosive, and then blow up the Blackrock compound.
After this, you are give then a quest titled AHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHH!!!
You drive a demolisher through hordes of Blackrock orcs while John J. Keeshan mans a gun on the back which he uses to slaughter the orcs wholesale. While you only need 200 orcs (only?), it was amusing enough that I kept rolling through the orcs for a while after the quest was completed, just laughing at what Keeshan was yelling as he fired.
That done, you meet up with Col. Troteman who sends you and the five members of Bravo Company off to face the Blackrock leadership in a final battle.
That ends the quest and story line for the zone. You get a very nice blue quality item with the last quest. This seems to be the standard now when you finish the main storyline in a zone, a non-heroic quality boss drop.
Oh, and you get Keeshan’s bandana as well.
The whole zone has a very linear quest progression now, the main quest line is a chain of events that gives you as many as four parallel quests at once, but I cannot recall ever having any more than that in my quest log. This is not the quest hub with a dozen quests that you pick up and run through. While you might not like being on rails, at least your quest log won’t over flow. (A problem I often have.)
The quests are amusing and diverse. You end up doing a lot more than kill 10 rats for credit or drops. I had fun.
The whole zone is for solo consumption only. We’ve crossed a line somewhere, in that not only are there no group quests, but when you need a group the quest line provides it. I’m not even sure what would happen if you tried to do some of these quests as a group.
The whole zone makes heavy use of phasing once you get into the main quest chain, which is probably a good thing since seeing other people on the same quests gets to be immersion breaking. I was running in parallel with another player at one point and took a break so he could get far enough ahead of me that I wouldn’t keep bumping into him. The stealth quests, for example, would be much less fun with other players around doing the same thing.
When finish the quest line, and are in the final phase of the zone, the Blackrock are gone. Hey, the world changed! A little. For me.
The quest line also guides you through all the locations in the zone, so if you follow it to the end, you’ll get the exploration achievement. You will also get the quests achievement about a half a dozen quests shy of finishing the main story line.
And when you’re done, you do feel like the zone is done. It is something like an open air instance now, though the gnolls were still hanging around when I left.
Makarov ended up well into level 22 at the end of the zone. While he got a boost from the fact that he mines and gathers herbs, he had almost zero blue bar rest experience. He is now lined up for Darkshire.