Tobold's Blog
Monday, March 24, 2008

I find Nagrand one of the prettiest zones in World of Warcraft. It combines a green lush environment with fantasy elements like floating rock islands and waterfalls. The points taken over by demons and having been corrupted make a really interesting sharp contrast, giving motivation to fight the corruption (not that this really would be possible). But right now I'm doing quests with my level 66 mage in Nagrand, and I must say from the quest design point of view, Nagrand isn't perfect. There are far too many "kill 30 talbuk, 30 windroc, and 30 clefthoof" quests, and once you did the first series, you're told to kill another 30 of each of slightly higher level. So you basically go somewhere and kill everything that moves for an hour, which isn't all that interesting or different from grinding.

The most interesting quest in Nagrand is probably the one with the trampoline. You spend more time trying to figure out how the trampoline works than killing stuff. I had some problems with the summoned bird being bugged and evading me, but a friendly shaman helped on the second try. The background story of the weak Mag'har leader is also interesting, leading to a visit of Thrall to his grandmother. But there are many, many quests that are just about killing X of this and Y of that. A bit more interaction with the environment or background story would have been welcome.
Like I once remember saying, when I started leveling in Nagrand, "It's Stranglethorn Vale all over again".
I, personally, consider Nagrand the best zone in WoW at the moment.

Obviously, the scenery is fantastic. Very peaceful, especially when compared with Netherstorm / Shadowmoon Valley.

Questing, is also enjoyable. Yes, the kill 30 then kill 30 then kill the boss quests was kind of annoying, but some of the other quests are just great fun. You get to trick your enemies into fighting each other. You get to participate in a PvE Arena. You get to save the Elements from being corrupted.

I found these quests to be very memorable. Enough, so, that I'm saving Nagrand for last on my latest 70.
I find it interesting that everyone's favorite Outland zone is the one I'd consider the closest to a traditional fantasy zone (instead of some weird, planar landscape)...
The Thrall quest is one of the best quests in the game. Usually on my server whoever is about to turn it in announces it in /General, and the whole zone of Horde come over to watch, when Thrall appears it's like a parade of PCs behind him /cheering him. It's one of the best in-game moments they've ever created, makes you feel like you're a hero.

I expect to see Nesingwary in the frozen north during WOTLK, asking us to kill 90 polar bears, 90 snow owls, and 90 snowbeasts. I'm surprised there's any wildlife left at all.
I found questing in Nagrand very boring, to the point where I stopped playing WoW for a fortnight and checked out some other recent games I'd bought instead. Finally I moved onto Blade's Edge and found the quests there so much more interesting and regained my interest.
The Altrius questline, the Thrall questline and the Ring of Blood more than make up for the lameness of the Nessingwary quests. There are more elite quests there than any other zone, except maybe SMV.

Personally, I think Nagrand is the bast zone to date in WoW. I'd love a neutral flight point to the consortium hub, but that is a minor quibble.
I'll go against the consensus and say I don't much care for Nagrand. Not just the Nesingwary quests... my first 70 was an ele shaman and there are way too many Nature immune mobs there so I gave up on the Elements quest chain very early on.

My second 70 is a miner and Nagrand is probably the worst zone in all of Outland for miners.

I like Netherstorm much better... it's a deeply weird zone with better quests.
People complain about those Mastery quests, but I find them pretty enjoyable and I like the fact that it’s pretty clear how many I have to kill. Also, since this is a “slain” quest chain – you can group with someone and do it twice as quickly. (Grouping in an MMO?! Gasp!) From that perspective, it’s also well designed in that the elites at the end of the chain are easily completed with just two people. Tusker (after all 3 chains are completed) requires more, but that can easily be done with your Durn the Hungerer group. These are also a real joy if you also happen to be a skinner.

By contrast, a “get 10 of these” off a mob that has a 30% drop rate might means is mathematically the same thing and pretty common. Of course, I could get it in 20 if I’m lucky or 50 if I’m unlucky. It’s also not as “group-friendly” because everyone in the group needs the drop. A group of three on drop quests often end up waiting on spawns. I think the “shock value” of seeing that you need 30 mobs is the reason people balk at the quest.
It's not just the Nesingwary ones, the Elemental quests are equally as boring - kill ten earth elementals, now go kill another 10 with a slightly different name, now go kill 10 more in a different part of Nagrand, now kill 10 water elementals, now go kill 10 more water elementals, blah blah.

Also, the loot drops are woeful for dps casters; everything is either Plate, Mail, Leather, or healer gear.
the fact that they don't spread gear out equally for quests has been a problem since launch. I think it actually hurts grouping. Why would a cloth wearer go group with some random stranger to help him get his mail?
As I finished up some quests in Blade's Edge Mts (the ogre ones) I thought about this post.

In the end all I was doing was killing ogre after ogre after ogre. Some from one faction, some from another. Some named, some not. Some elite some not. But still ogres.

I like the kill X quest part in the WoW canon of quests. I fully expect to see Nesingwary show up in WotLK with an even more unbelieveable amount of beasts to slay.
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