Daily Archives: November 2, 2022

Outland Zones Ranked

I threatened to do this a while back and decided to run with it.  I am going to give you my rankings of the seven zones that make up Outland in The Burning Crusade expansion.

Outland

This is, of course, the subjective view of a single person and you are welcome to argue for a different ranking.

My ranking is based on how the zones work as a play through at level before you have your flying mount.  I am (trying) not to allow some of the post-flying content to influence me, nor do I want to allow the fact that specific dungeons or raids live in these zones.  That would get me trying to rank those as well, and that way lays madness.

I am also going to leave out the two starter zones that came in with the expansion, but I think I have expressed my opinion on that already.  The blood elves win that round for sure.

The rankings are based on my memories, both new and old, though I did go out and do a quick refresher on the zones just to bring them to mind, grabbing the Explorer achievement for Outland along the way.

Down in Shadowmoon Valley

With that said, here is my ranking from best or most enjoyable zone to worst or least enjoyable zone.

1 – Nagrand

Nagrand

Everybody loves Nagrand, right?

One of my criteria involved how much needless running back and forth do the quests in the zone ask of you, though that is a hard one because they all do that.  The design philosophy of the expansion no doubt included the idea that ten levels and seven zones had to last at least as long as vanilla content did.

Every zone makes you schlep back and forth, but Nagrand is at least a size and shape that makes that a bit less of a chore.  And the scenery is nice, the quest lines are kind of fun, it has one of the inevitable poop quests, and the local faction has some very pretty Talbuk mounts for you if you put in the effort.

The downside is that it only has the one flight point in an expansion where Blizz decided that they could break the “one flight point per zone” rule they had in vanilla.  That and the “kill 30” quests speak against it, though given the competition those aren’t that big of a hit.  And it has the mob population to support those quests.

As top pick, Nagrand was pretty easy.  The next five though… kind of tough to rank.

2 – Zangarmarsh

Zangarmarsh

Zangarmarsh wins out in part because it is a nice change of scenery after Hellfire Peninsula.  You do end up running back and forth a lot, and the fact that the zone is somewhat stretched along the east/west axis exacerbates this.  But it does have two flight points, though the fact that there isn’t one at the first main quest hub is still a bit of a kick in the crotch.

It doesn’t have the kill 30 quests of Nagrand, which is good, but it also doesn’t have the mob population to support some of the kill 15 quests as well.  Still not a tough zone to get around, the quests are decent, it is a great zone for herbalism, and it connects to four other zones.

3 – Shadowmoon Valley

Shadowmoon Valley

These next three are a tough call.  I could be convinced to rank them in the reverse or other order.

Shadowmoon Valley gets the nod for me right now because it is just kind of a cool looking zone.  It has some fun and interesting quests and three flight points… though you have to do quests to gain faction to unlock access to two of them.  But sure, that is part of the story of the zone.  There are memorable quests and visuals as well as the requisite amount of traveling back and forth between locations for quests.  It is another mix of the good and the less good that makes up the expansion.

4 – Hellfire Peninsula

Hellfire Peninsula

I struggled a bit with this one because, after coming off the end of vanilla, Hellfire Peninsula can be a bit of a slap in the face about how the game is going to be structured for the next ten levels, with every kill quest being 12-30 and drop rates being lower than low and collection quests taking up multiple inventory slots and that you’re going to have to run through the same group of mobs over and over for each successive quest and mobs not always being easy to hand in the numbers needed to support more than a few players on the same quest.

But it is an intro because that is the way it is going to be for the rest of the expansion, so it can be tough to find fault for the zone there.

It is also a stark and barren landscape.  And I get why, it is the was zone over which groups have been fighting.

Basically, in the context of all zones in WoW, it is way down the list.  But in the context of the expansion it is a bit bland, a bit harsh, and I am always happy to move past it… but it isn’t the worst.

5 – Terokkar Forest

Terokkar Forest

Terokkar could have been 4th… and was 4th on my first path, but then fell to 5th spot because… it is kind of bland.  It isn’t bad.  It doesn’t have you running around as much as some zones, but you still spend a lot of time going back and forth.  The forest part is foresty, the wastes are wastes.  There is that great big spider, which was a fun surprise.  But aside from going back to Skettis over and over again for dailies, it is a zone I usually move on from as soon as possible.

6 – Netherstorm

Netherstorm

Netherstorm is down this list because it is a zone that really never clicked with me on any level.  I can find something good or fun to refer to when it comes to most of these zones, even Blade’s Edge Mountains, but Netherstorm is just kind of bleh.  I’ve been through it.  I eventually got the achievement for doing all of the main quests on my retail WoW main, yet I can’t tell you about a specific quest I remember, which separates it from all the other zones.  In my head it is a lot of purple and pipes and a pain to get around until you have flying.

7 – Blade’s Edge Mountains

Blade’s Edge Mountains

I don’t know, did you see this coming?

I put in the criteria at the top in part because I had already picked the best and the worst and was kind of sorting out the middle, to explain why this was at the bottom of the list, my least favorite zone in Outland.

It is a pain in the ass to quest in, even when you have flying, and if you’re working your way through without flying it is a series of long treks back and fourth through the few connecting routes within the zone.  Ever the quest in Zangarmarsh which sends you to the zone is a slog.

This is the zone that killed my attempt to get the loremaster achievement title.  Even with flying and above level I eventually hit the wall and felt I had better things to do with my time.

I realize that this zone is probably some designers pet project, the culmination of all their dreams… there are some good and fun bits within the zone and I am sorry to crap all over your hard work… but as a total package, well, here it is at the bottom of the list.  It is the zone I will never finish, and if you did finish it my hat is off to you.  You have more patience than I.

So to sum up, my ranking of Outland zones is:

  1. Nagrand
  2. Zangarmarsh
  3. Shadowmoon Valley
  4. Hellfire Peninsula
  5. Terokkar Forest
  6. Netherstorm
  7. Blade’s Edge Mountains

Dissenting opinion are welcome, supporting evidence is appreciated.