I've been playing World of Warcraft for a very long time. Since it was closed beta, in fact. Back when the game was still brand new, I mean right when the servers first opened up, I played for team red. I was a Horde shaman, and proud to be so. My first shaman was not named Lodur, in fact it was what I thought at the time was the ever clever name of Rum. I played with one of my buddies who named his warrior Coke. We played with a bunch of coworkers and friends from college until partway through Classic WoW when they either got promoted at work, graduated or stopped playing. Some of our group though decided to move to another server and see how things were going on the Alliance side of things.
Off to Zul'jin we went, and with moving servers and factions in a time before server transfers or faction swaps were around, came a new toon. Abigail, the night elf hunter was born. She's traveled servers, and been race changed multiple times since she was born. I finished Classic WoW on her raiding with friends all the way through the original Naxxramas. I still gave a lot of love to Rum though, and even found time to run him through Ahn'Qiraj 40. When Burning Crusade released, though, Rum fell to the wayside as Lodur was born over with my Alliance family. I hadn't returned to horde except for a brief tour with the Choose My Adventure here on the site, that was until this past week when I server and faction changed my long time hunter over to play Horde side again with friends.
Learning to navigate capitals again
So, with some prodding from friends, Shialia worgen hunter became Qialoian pandaren hunter of the Horde. The first thing I will say, is it felt good to be Horde again. The second thing I will say, is that I spent my first night absolutely lost in Orgrimmar. The last time I had seen the city was back when Thrall was running the joint and flying was something you paid silver and gold to do. You navigated the streets of Org by foot till you were level 40, and slow mount until you were level 60. That said, having been so long since setting foot in the halls of the orc home, and it having changed so much from when I was last there, I really spent most of my first night just trying to figure out where everything was. After about the 200th time of asking for directions from guildmates I started to get the hang of it. I spent the rest of my evening just poking and prodding my way through and around the city. Even after all the upgrades and changes over the years, I think I like it better than Stormwind. I spent a lot of my time in Stormwind over the years, and while it has gone through upgrades and damages over the years, it doesn't have nearly the character that Orgrimar has. It is an absolutely amazing city, and quite beautiful in color, layout and how varied it is even inside the valleys and peaks. Despite being so varied, everything meshes together in a way that doesn't seem out of place or like it's all crammed into a space too small. While it's true that Stormwind is also quite varied in what it has inside its walls, by comparison it is like blocks of different colors just sort of placed near eachother.
I spent time trying to poke around the other horde capitols for a bit the next day. I still remembered my way around Thunder Bluff quite well, and it still remains one of my favorite cities for any race in any MMO I've played to date. Not much had really changed enough for me to really get lost there. Undercity, at least underneath, has largely remained the same as well, but even back in Classic WoW, I still can't find my way around it. Silvermoon City I still just can't stand. In all the others you can fly now, which makes things much easier, but at least to me in Silvermoon things are so spread out and it is super easy to take a wrong turn and hit a dead end. Not a fan, and I still get lost there. Overall though, I was quite stunned at just how interesting each of the cities were. There is quite a lot of character to each one, between NPC names, layouts and everything else. After a week of spending time in them, I think I like them better than every Alliance city.
From Alliance to Horde in Mists
My hunter was not max level when I faction changed her, she was 85 when the change happened. The good news on this is that it afforded me the opportunity to level-up and experience the questing through Horde eyes. The first thing that I noticed was how much the questing focused on honor and, in case of the Hozen, repaying them by defeating the things that scared and harassed them. Yes, there was a lot of fighting against the Alliance, but from what I saw it was more about survival. When I quested as Alliance in the Jade Forest, there was a lot of trying to convince others that the horde were in fact the bad guys and evil. Horde side, there was a lot of calling for seeing things with their own eyes. Even with the Sha popping up, the quest text was about honor and valor and duty more often than not. It was, in a lot of cases, like night and day as far as the difference between the two factions. Yes there was a lot of overlap in the types of questing, but you have to expect that to a certain degree. Honestly, I preferred questing through Jade Forest more-so than on my Alliance toon. I'm still going through all the zones and doing all the quests on both my toons, and I plan on taking note of all of the differences between the two faction's questing as well as reading all of the quest text. Right now it's more of a feel thing, and how it feels to me for questing.
The biggest shock, so far, was when I started doing scenarios upon reaching max level. Queuing for a random, I wound up getting Dagger in the Dark. I had completely forgotten about this scenario as it is Horde only right now. Alliance side we got A Little Patience, which to be honest I did not really care for. Part of that I'm sure is because I do not care for King Varian Wrynn as a character. To be fair my favorite Alliance faction leader is currently a mound of diamond sitting beneath Ironforge right now. This scenario though, Dagger in the Dark, is phenomenal. I mean, some of it I sort of expected after reading Tides of War, but even still it was very well done. It was a sort of polarizing experience, and something that from a story perspective makes so much more sense with why Garrosh is going to be someone we have to defeat. I got so angry at the betrayal when Vol'jin gets stabbed, and staying after the scenario to talk with Vol'jin, I couldn't help but actually care about killing Garrosh. Up to this exact point, as Alliance, I was very meh on the idea of having Garrosh be one of our bosses. I'm not saying that Theramore wasn't a big deal, but this, oh man. You get to see what he's up to, what he's starting to work towards, and you see even further how deep the corruption goes. I felt the desire to end him even more personally than Theramore after the big reveal of this scenario and I can't wait until my Alliance friends get to play through it in patch 5.2. It's been quite an experience so far, making the switch back over to Horde, and I can't wait to keep digging through the quests, and I'm looking ever more forward to patch 5.2 now, so I can continue the story.
Do you have any quest-lines or things that I must do, or have to see now that I'm Horde? After making the switch my quest trackers have pretty much reset, and I'm looking to experience all the awesome things I've missed as an Alliance player over the years.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.